URICA – aiming to ease cash-flow for small businesses

A new Government-backed payments service is launching which aims to put an end to cash-flow problems for small businesses, including design consultancies.


The URICA platform is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and insurer RSA. It allows suppliers to receive payment on invoices immediately, rather than having to wait up to 90 days.

Both supplier and client can sign up to the URICA platform. The services is funded by the supplier paying URICA a percentage of the invoice value – typically £85-£250 on a £10 000 invoice, depending on how quickly they want to get paid. URICA pays the invoice amount, and clients are given up to 75 days to pay them.


Lindsay Whitelaw, chief executive of URICA, says, ‘URICA is all about providing a common-sense way to meet the cash-flow needs of today’s smaller companies. Our core mission is to prove that URICA can unlock the massive growth potential of SMEs across the UK.’

Cash-flow problems have been cited by a number of design groups who have fallen into financial difficulties or been forced to close – such as 300 Million in 2012. URICA says the advantage of this system to clients is that it will cut out debt in the supply chain, saying, ‘early cash to your suppliers means they’ll be there when you need them to grow’.


Business and Enterprise Minister Simon Fallon says, ‘This is not business as usual, this is a strong and radical diversification to complement the traditional, established forms of finance.’

The URICA branding has been created by SomeOne and is based on the concept of placards. Copy was created by SomeOne working with URICA and Mark Taylor.


Simon Manchipp, executive creative director at SomeOne, says, ‘URICA is a revolutionary idea, with a lot of ambition behind it to get things going in the UK economy. It’s the sort of idea you’d take to the streets for.

‘So we used the great British tradition of placards to create stand-out messages throughout the visual identity. Placards – but on a more business-savvy level. Business-card-sized placards in fact.’


SomeOne lead designer Helen Altoungarian says, ‘It’s a rally cry, a smart, risk-free way to help cash flow.’

The URICA website has been created by SomeOne/Else, and features scroll-based animations and a walkthrough of the URICA methodology.


The URICA service is set to launch in April.

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  • Brian Shanahan November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is potentially a nice idea for small businesses, but it is unfortunate that it’s current mode of operation is illegal. On the Urica wesite it states: “We are fully compliant with the European Late Payments Directive adopted by the UK Government. For domestic payments the maximum payment term is 75 days, which equates to an average of 60 days after the end of the month.” This is not a correct interpretation of the Directive. The maximum allowable term is 60 Days from invoice receipt date, not the end of month that the invoice is received. Its staggering that a government sponsored initiative doesn’t even understand the law that the same government has implemented

  • Simon Manchipp November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Brian.

    Thanks for your comment Brian. I may be able to help clear things up here.

    I believe the directive states:

    “The period for payment fixed in the contract does not exceed 60 calendar days, unless otherwise expressly agreed in the contract and provided it is not grossly unfair to the creditor. It should therefore remain possible for parties to agree on payment periods longer than 60 calendar days provided such extension if not grossly unfair to the creditor.”

    In reality the directive states 60 days, but businesses operate after end of month. Everyone knows that.

    URICA starts with a fixed 60 days (so it’s not illegal) and they have been asked by small companies to extend to 75 to accommodate the way the real world operates. Which they are looking into I believe.

    I am assured the operation is entirely within the limits set by law and is not in the slightest bit illegal!

    The directive also goes on to say govt. should encourage electronic payment platforms, and ensure invoices are confirmed within 30days, and URICA do both.

    Hope that helps clarify things.

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