Helping businesses in the South West

Regional Growth Fund for South West Businesses

2014-05-12 09.41.26

More than £40m is available to SMEs, micro sized businesses, and social enterprises in England through Regional Growth Fund – and the South West is being encouraged to get its fair share.

The Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) is calling on South West based businesses to apply to community development finance institutions (CDFIs) to gain access to much needed finance from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

CDFIs provide vital fair-cost loans to individuals and businesses otherwise unable to secure mainstream finance.

CDFIs across England have £40m to lend to local businesses and social enterprises as part of the Government backed RGF scheme. As many SMEs and social enterprises struggle to access high street bank lending, they are being encouraged to apply for alternative finance lending.

South West Investment Group (SWIG), one of the CDFIs for the region and is run on a not for profit basis, has so far lent over £310k from the RGF funding to local small businesses, creating and safeguarding 140 jobs.

John Peters, managing director at SWIG, said: “As a CDFI we provide vital fair-cost loans to businesses unable to secure mainstream finance in the South West. We want to provide more lending through the RGF fund to help create and safeguard more jobs in the area, helping local businesses and the economy grow.

“SWIG have been helping support those businesses who may not have access to mainstream finance for 25 years.

“As an organisation we are committed to stimulating employment and growth through access to loan funding and we encourage local businesses in the South West to access the money available through the Regional Growth Fund.

“It is important that social and micro enterprises as well as SMEs across the whole of the South West explore this excellent funding option to move their business on to the next step.”

Ben Hughes, chief executive of the CDFA, said: “SMEs together with micro and social enterprises are the lifeblood of Britain’s economy and are an entrepreneurial force working hard to create fertile economic landscapes in their local communities.

“CDFIs are important lenders stepping up to fill this gap in available finance. We urge small, micro and social enterprises across the country to enquire about loan facilities through our CDFI members. We know there is an appetite for support and we want to ensure a strong capital position for small, micro and social enterprises that are aiding local economic development.”

With small businesses creating 60% of jobs and 50% of GDP in the UK [1], micro enterprises and SMEs are vital to local and regional economies. The funding provided by the alternative finance sector has already secured 2,600 jobs in England, benefitting 699 businesses.

An example of how banks can work together with alternative finance providers is a £600,000 contribution provided to SWIG by Lloyds Bank to match the same amount from the Government.

Almost half of loans, by value, are in the West Midlands region, 16% are in the North West, with the remainder disbursed throughout the rest of England.

The original article appears on the South West Business website.