While banks remain in the spotlight for their reluctance to lend to small and medium-sized firms, many businesses are turning to invoice finance, peer-to-peer lending and asset-based finance.
The latest index from Bibby Financial Services, which tracks 4,000 smaller firms in five sectors (manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services) shows clear growth. Measured against a base of 100 set in 2007, growth has risen from 85 points in 2009 (the lowest point in the recession) to 102.6 in 2012.
Bibby also revealed that 15 per cent of firms had seen a rise in the number of customers in the past year, while a third recorded an increase in the level of orders received over the same period.
A spokesman for Bibby commented: "Business Secretary Vince Cable has quite rightly raised the issue of a lack of bank credit. However, lack of awareness of other funding options is a bigger problem. Funding is available and businesses are growing".