Close Invoice Finance last week announced a €100m "fighting fund" to help SMEs free up credit without resorting to bank loans or overdrafts.

Invoice financing allows companies to raise cash against their sales ledger, mitigating some of the cashflow problems that are affecting small businesses as payment terms get longer.

Regional sales director for Ireland Tony Duffy said: "Small businesses in particular face collapse due to cashflow problems. Close Invoice Finance is interested in the integrity of debt, not the company balance sheet or rate of growth. We therefore approach businesses in a very different way to traditional lenders."