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Alternative finance in Scotland - where are we now?

Alternative finance as a source of funding for Scottish SMEs had enjoyed a significant rise over the past year, a conference hosted by Harper Macleod heard yesterday.

More than 100 delegates from the business community attended the firm's event at the University of Strathclyde's Technology & Innovation Centre, where the firm's specialists were joined by expert speakers on crowdlending and crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding Crowdlending Scotland Lawyer Harper Macleod Alternative Finance

The event outlined the opportunities and challenges presented by the rapid growth of Scotland's alternative finance sector and explained the process for accessing the market and how to successfully raise funds.

Earlier in 2016, the Scottish Crowdfunding Report 2016, co-sponsored by Harper Macleod, revealed that the sector enjoyed meteoric growth over the past few years – raising £27 million over a 12-month period.

Harper Macleod's Corporate and Banking specialists have played a prominent role in the industry, completing 36% of the equity crowdfunding deals reported in Scotland in 2015. Paula Skinner, a partner in our Corporate team and recognised as one of Scotland's leading crowdfunding lawyers, and Tony Cameron, a Banking & Finance partner who specialises in crowdlending, were among the speakers.

Crowdlending, in particular, has become a significant source of funding for SME businesses, with more than £20 million raised by companies in Scotland in the year to September 2015.

Among the speakers on Thursday were Tim Wright, author of the Scottish Crowdfunding Report, Chris Rea from Seedrs – one of the leading equity based crowdfunding platforms in Europe, which counts Andy Murray among its investors - and Angus Dent of ArchOver, one of the leading crowdlending platforms in the UK.

Delegates also heard from Jim Law, founder and CEO of Find a Player - a sports app business which crowdfunded through the Seedrs, raising £150,000 of the £110,000 investment sought. Mr Law gave a warts and all guide through the process of an equity crowdfunding campaign.