Last month saw the official re-launch of a new dedicated Business Loan Fund which is set to boost the growth of businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Reflecting continued efforts to promote the growth of local businesses, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and one of the region’s largest providers of alternative finance, BCRS Business Loans, joined forces to re-launch the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund.
The new initiative comprises of a funding pot worth £1.5 million and was introduced to finance professionals and business owners at CoRE, Stoke-on-Trent on 24th May.
Guests were welcomed by the deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Abi Brown, while the Business Loan Fund and its impact were explained by the Business Growth Manager of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Steve Lovatt, and the Chief Executive of BCRS Business Loans, Paul Kalinauckas.
RAN Ales Ltd, a previous loan recipient who has seen business rocket since securing finance from the Business Loan Fund, presented a talk detailing how their business has developed and their experience of working with BCRS Business Loans.
The Loan Fund has been especially designed to meet the needs of growing small and medium sized businesses that are unable to secure finance from traditional lenders. Loans ranging from £10,000 to £50,000 are to be made available for viable SMEs that will make a positive contribution to the social and economic prosperity of the local economy.
Paul Kalinauckas, Chief Executive of BCRS Business Loans, said: “With over 14 years’ experience of supporting the funding needs of local businesses, we are delighted to be introducing this new Business Loan Fund. It is certainly an exciting time for growing businesses.
“Although the Loan Fund was publicly re-launched in May, it has actually been operational since December 2015 and, as such, nine businesses have already benefitted. Loans to the value of £415,000 have been distributed, with more exciting applications currently in the pipeline.
“The first to benefit was an architectural based business in Staffordshire. After being turned down by a traditional lender, the owner approached the Staffordshire Business Loan Fund to support its investment in a newly developed material in the façade engineering sector.
“Put simply, small businesses are at the heart of what we do and we believe in what they do. By offering a relationship-based approach to lending we are able to help SMEs achieve their growth objectives. For us, no viable business should go unsupported,” concluded Paul.
Staffordshire County Council’s economy leader Mark Winnington said: “It’s pleasing to see the first companies benefit from the newly extended fund – giving them the backing they need to expand their operations. Small firms still tell us that accessing essential finance is problematic. The loan fund team is keen to support any viable business. With over 1,000 jobs created or safeguarded directly as a result of the first established fund, it’s really playing a part in the county’s ongoing economic success.”
Councillor Abi Brown, cabinet member for finance and partnerships, said: “Enterprise and aspiration are essential to the future of our city. Since this loan scheme was set up, it has made life-changing differences to small and medium-sized businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, enabling them to expand and grow. These businesses play a crucial role in our economy and provide countless jobs for local people, and it is vitally important that we give them all the support we can so that they can be successful. My advice for businesses is to get in touch and let us see how we can help them.”
Any Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent based business looking for access to finance should contact BCRS Business Loans through the fast track online application facility at www.bcrs.org.uk or call 0345 313 8410.