SWIG Finance, founded in 1990, is a cornerstone finance provider to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the South and West Country of England. Over the years, the company has expanded its reach and influence, making a significant impact on local communities.

Today, we are excited to launch our new Impact Report for 2023-2024, showcasing our achievements and the broader social benefits of our lending activities.

 

 

Why We’re Doing It

As a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), our mission is to ensure that all SMEs have access to the financial backing and support they need to thrive.

We are pleased to report another strong year of lending activity, with £14m delivered in over 500 loans to a wide range of local businesses across a broad range of sectors.

Our commitment to inclusive growth, social and environmental impact, and removing barriers to finance is at the heart of everything we do. Reflecting this, 21% of our lending goes into deprived areas, 43% to women-led businesses and 12% to ethnic minority-led businesses.

Our core principles include supporting inclusive growth, delivering social and environmental impact, removing barriers to finance, being fair, open, and transparent, operating to the highest standards, and using profits for purpose. These values guide our operations and ensure that we remain a force for positive change within the financial services sector.

Impact Snapshot

What We Do

At SWIG Finance, we provide a range of financial products tailored to meet the needs of new and growing businesses, backed by a committed lending team that provides support to our customers so that they can better succeed on their growth journeys.

As a Start Up Loans Business Support Provider, we provide advice and access to loans of up £25,000 to a vast array of entrepreneurs. In the past year alone, we delivered 428 Start Up Loans, demonstrating our commitment to fostering new business ventures.

Circular 11 was one such Start Up Loans customer. This innovative business, based in Dorset, has developed processes to recycle low-grade plastic waste into low-carbon building materials. Their loan helped them to develop two new fencing and barrier products, now being trialled on the motorway network. In the report, Circular 11’s co-founder, Ben Gibbons highlights how SWIG Finance’s support was crucial in turning its eco-friendly vision into a tangible reality.

Circular 11

Circular11

Our Business Loans provide up to £250,000 to growing SMEs. One of our case study customers, TrueStart Coffee, based in Bristol, used its loan to increase inventory and hire more talent, driving their growth in the competitive coffee market. TrueStart, led by Helena and Simon Hills, is creating a healthier coffee brand that stands out in the marketplace.

In 2023, SWIG Finance was appointed by the British Business Bank as fund manager for smaller loans under the South West Investment Fund (SWIF). This fund aims to drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunities.

Newlyn-based Fishy Filaments, who turn end-of-life fishing nets into 3D printing material, typifies the type of innovative business we can support through SWIF. The business used its loan to scale up production and hire new staff, significantly increasing their capacity to produce sustainable materials. Fishy Filaments not only supports the local economy but the circular economy too, by addressing the crucial environmental problem of marine waste.

Fishy Filaments

Customer visit with Fishy Filaments

Our Social Impact

The social impact of our lending activities has nearly doubled in recent years. In 2023-2024, we created a social impact valued at £71.5 million, up from £44.6 million in the previous year. These values were generated through the CDFI Economic Impact tool, developed by Responsible Finance.

Our alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) is central to SWIG Finance’s mission. These goals guide our efforts to support businesses in implementing sustainability and net-zero strategies.

By encouraging our clients to adopt practices that align with the UNSDGs, we help ensure that their growth contributes positively to the environment and society. This alignment underscores our commitment to using finance as a force for good, helping businesses achieve their objectives while fostering broader social and environmental benefits.

Conclusion

SWIG Finance takes a people-based approach to funding smaller businesses where that support benefits local communities. Our team takes immense pride in the work we do, supporting economic growth and development throughout the South and West Country. As we continue to expand our reach and introduce new funds, we are excited about our potential to provide the key that unlocks finance for many more local businesses.

For those seeking alternatives to traditional bank funding, we invite you to explore the comprehensive support SWIG Finance offers. Download our 2023-2024 Impact Report to learn more about our impact and how we can support your business journey.

Download the full report here and discover how SWIG Finance can help your business grow and thrive. For more information, contact our team at info@swigfinance.co.uk or 01872 227 930.