Small businesses across Staffordshire experiencing difficulty in accessing finance to help them expand are being urged to find out more about the county council’s loans scheme which has been extended throughout 2013.
Staffordshire’s Business Loans Fund has supported over 80 businesses since it started in 2009 by offering loans of between £10,000 and £50,000. Small businesses, which play a vital part in Staffordshire’s economic growth and job creation, can still find obtaining vital finance from banks difficult, despite having viable business plans.
The fund is run in partnership with not-for-profit lender BCRS and has helped to create 200 jobs and safeguard over 400.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for employment and skills Ben Adams said: “Confidence among small businesses in Staffordshire continues to grow and our loans fund is helping to build on this. We want businesses to know this fund is there to help them to grow and enjoy success in 2013.
“We recently marked three years of the fund, which we launched in 2009 in recognition of the difficult times small businesses were facing in accessing finance. “While this may have improved, there is no doubt that businesses are still facing difficulties. This fund offers a real lifeline to businesses and we work with banks and other organisations to ensure they can signpost companies to us.
“Our loans fund forms part of the county council’s package of support for businesses in Staffordshire which also includes our enterprise centres for start-up companies, backing for apprenticeships and business helpline.
“We are confident 2013 will be another successful year for increasing jobs and growth in Staffordshire and hope more small businesses will come forward and make the most of the loans fund.”
The fund was recognised as the best economic regeneration project in 2012 at the Southern Staffordshire Regeneration Awards, run by the Southern Staffordshire Partnership.
BCRS Chief Executive Paul Kalinauckas said; “BCRS come into contact with hundreds of businesses and they tell us that that access to finance is still the number one issue, so I am really pleased that we have such a fantastic funding vehicle in the shape of the Staffordshire Business loan fund.
“This partnership is all about providing Staffordshire’s business talent with the support it needs in a time of austerity. Many well-run businesses have been finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat through the recession. BCRS is committed to helping new and existing businesses that may now have difficulty in obtaining finance from the banks.”