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Distributor Tech Data has teamed with IBM Global financing to give VARs better access to large deals for small and midsize businesses without the accompanying cash flow crunch.

The program leverages IBM’s Flexible Credit, which IGF (IBM Global Financing) launched in November. IBM wants to give VARs in the United States access to credit lines between $100,000 and $500,000 above the unsecured interest-free 30-day credit typically provided by distributors such as Tech Data.

Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla., is currently the only broadline distributor to offer the IBM Flexible Credit program, which gives VARs the option of taking longer than 30 days to pay back the funds. This, in turn, gives the SMB companies served by VARs the opportunity to qualify for bigger deals.

“Many smaller resellers may not have strong bank financing and may have more difficulty managing day-to-day cash in operations,” said Greg Hansen, senior financial services manager at Tech Data.

“If they are not paid by the customer in time, they wonder if they can make payroll in time. This program enables them to look at bigger deals that may have put them in trouble before.”

For example, SMBs could look at projects that would take 90 days to complete and install, allowing them to bid against larger companies. In the past, such deals might have been out of reach because of the gap between when the reseller had to pay the distributor and when the reseller got paid by the customer.

Resellers can take advantage of “no-interest payment charges” for varying financing periods of 30, 45 or 60 days with unpaid balances accruing a “low competitive interest rate per month with flexible repayment options,” according to IBM.

In addition to the new credit line, the program offers SMBs an online application process, including document signatures, that can be completed in a single day.

“You can apply and get things signed and get approved and get products shipping in the same day,” Hansen said.

That quick turnaround is the fastest of any Tech Data credit offering by at least a day and eliminates the paperwork considered too cumbersome by some small companies.

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“The SMB marketplace is where the growth opportunities are for everyone—resellers, distributors and vendors,” Hansen said. “That’s why it’s important to push opportunities in that marketplace.”

Click here to learn more about distributor efforts to reach SMBs.