Technology giant IBM is reaching out to small and midsize businesses with $1 billion in financing to help credit-qualified companies over the next 18 months take advantage of a new suite of advanced technologies such as analytics and cloud. The effort is designed to help SMBs spur innovation and drive economic growth by making credit more easily accessible, with approvals often in less than 60 seconds, through IBM Global Financing.
IBM's commitment of $1 billion in financing for SMBs is designed to eliminate many of the cost barriers they face to grow their business. IBM will offer simple, flexible lease and loan packages, some starting at as low as 0 percent for 12 months with no money down allowing them to acquire the IBM technology and services. In addition to software, services and financing, IBM offers a variety of ways for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with no-charge access to advanced technologies, business and technology experts and training through its Global Entrepreneur Program and network of 40 global innovation centers.
Financing will be made available to SMB clients through IBM Business Partners, who can benefit from online financing tools to generate price proposals and get approvals for credit applications for SMB clients. As part of the announcement, IBM is also launching a set of solutions, which include workload optimized systems combining hardware and software and services offerings focused on technologies, such as cloud, analytics, collaboration and security.
Businesses can take advantage of these new technologies with no money down and by making monthly or quarterly financing payments. For example, many of the offerings are less than $5 per user per month (over 36 months) for 100 users. These offerings also introduce technologies from IBM's recent cloud, analytics and security acquisitions such as Cast Iron, BigFix, SPSS, Netezza and Cognos.
"We are currently at the forefront of an entrepreneurial renaissance that is sweeping the globe," said Mike Grandinetti, managing director at Southboro Capital "Affordable and powerful technology has gone mainstream. It has closed the gap between big corporations and small businesses, enabling entrepreneurs and small to midsize businesses to radically change the way that we think about and approach our work. While some may find it surprising that a big company like IBM is involved, they have long been a powerful ally to entrepreneurs around the world, helping small business grow and deliver the next wave of technology innovation."
According to AMI Partners, SMBs in the United States will spend more than $49 billion on cloud services in 2015; nearly double the size of the market today. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) consistently reports that more than 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years due to lack of capital. Since this segment is responsible for nearly 65 percent of global GDP, representing more than 90 percent of all businesses and employing more than 90 percent of the world's workforce, IBM is looking to give midmarket companies a boost where they need it most.
"SMBs are the engines of new ideas for our economy and for economic growth. Curiosity and new thinking are what sets them apart," said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM midmarket business. "We're coming out of a recession, and a lot of times, it's the small business entrepreneur who leads the way. Significant efforts need to be made to provide a strong foundation for SMBs to establish their business for growth. As information has become the new currency, the ability of SMBs to survive in an increasingly competitive and global environment is largely determined by their use of new technologies such as cloud and analytics to quickly access the right information and use it as a competitive advantage."