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This chapter reflects on the changes in financing small firms during the past 25 years by reviewing the extant literature on how small businesses are financed at their inception, how continuing operations are financed, and how changing technologies have shaped capital markets for small firms. Our review of a unique small firm time series data set shows that many of the obstacles small firms faced in the early 1980s have mostly disappeared. New firm formations continue to depend on owner savings, friends, and family, while venture capital remains a microscopic proportion of total new firm financing in any given year. Once operating, small firms depend primarily on banks for operating support and capital investment, but the use of credit cards (business and personal) and nonbank sources (finance/leasing companies) is increasing in importance. We end with a discussion of two current issues in small firm finance: the cumulative impact of banking consolidation in the USA and the effect of the current financial crisis in the USA on small firm access to capital.
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- The Changing Landscape of Small-Firm Finance
Jonathan A. Scott
- Springer New York
- Chapter 7
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