The informal funding market for new businesses in the United Kingdom

  • Ekaterina Murzacheva

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Informal funding is a part of the informal venture capital market, provided by individuals who are not professional investors, such as family and friends. Despite being a widespread source of small-scale finance for starting businesses, it has not been investigated holistically both from the demand and supply perspectives. This thesis brings the two sides together at four levels of analysis. Individual experiences of both entrepreneurs and their informal funders are explored, and further integrated at the dyadic level. The relationship is then embedded into the context of local communities, and macroeconomic environment.The exploratory part of the research draws on seven case studies of informal funding deals in Scotland. Both entrepreneurs and their informal funders were interviewed separately between July 2012 and September 2013. Further information from secondary sources was collected to complement the case material. Using a thematic analysis method, the perspectives were reconciled, and propositions about the nature of informal funding relationship were developed.The embeddedness effects were subsequently empirically validated at the local and macroeconomic levels using the UK Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data, and Indices of Multiple Deprivation from Official Statistics for the 2007-2012 period.This thesis contributes to the entrepreneurial finance literature, distinguishing three types of informal capital users who implicitly initiate a deal (demand factor): bootstrappers, discouraged, and rejected borrowers/investees. Non-pecuniary motives are important for funders, but are restrained by income factor. The interaction of the demand and supply leads to an equilibrium at the local level for the communities which are neither deprived, nor munificent. However during a macroeconomic downturn, the demand factor dominates, resulting in double equilibria – both for the least and most munificent areas. The findings also lead to implications for policy makers (regarding the formalisation of informal cash flows), and for practitioners – around structuring the funding process.
Date of Award1 Oct 2014
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde

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