SWIG Finance is supporting South West SMEs who have been affected by COVID-19.

We are working in partnership with British Business Bank to deliver the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – a government guarantee which enables us to lend to those businesses who can’t access sufficient funding from their bank in these difficult times.

In this article, our Business Manager, Jordan Berg, provides his top tips on navigating the CBILS application process.

Business Manager


Identifying how much funding you need

Financial projections are critical when establishing how much external funding you require, and these projections will play a key role in decision-making by lenders.

Creating different cashflow forecasts under what you believe to be a “best case”, “worst case” and “best guess” scenario will help identify the potential cashflow pitfalls you may come up against. You only want to request this assistance once – applying for what might “make do” now may not be in the best interest of your business long term. Effective forecasting also gives the lender confidence that all eventualities have been properly considered.

For tips on creating financial projections for an uncertain future, visit our recent guest blog post from Richard Wadman, Corporate Financial Director at PFK Francis Clark.

Further information on managing your cash flow during a pandemic can be found here in another guest blog post from Brent Treloar, Business Development Manager for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund.

Preparing your documentation

It’s worth remembering that when you’re applying for a CBILS loan, you should treat your application as you would do with any other form of business lending.

  1. Ensure that you have included ALL the documentation required by the lender where possible – any missing information could cause delays which could put you and your business under unnecessary stress.
  2. Be transparent. Consider any irregularities in your documentation that might prompt further questioning. If these are highlighted from the beginning, it will not only speed up the process, but will build greater trust between you and the lender throughout your application.
  3. Explain any assumptions made in your future planning – this helps the lender better understand your business and the rationale behind any decisions made.
  4. Request and agree regular updates where possible. During times of unprecedented demand, you must ensure your application is being progressed in a timely manner.

What lenders will look for in your application

Lenders will want to analyse the business’ performance prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. CBILS loans are for those businesses that, up until the outbreak, were successful and profitable. If your business was loss making and on a downward trend, this form of lending may not be an appropriate option for you.

As mentioned previously, spending time mapping out the future for your businesses return to operations is not only vital to its recovery, but will also demonstrate your management capability and forward-thinking leadership.

What you can expect from the application process 

Should you decide to apply for CBILS through SWIG Finance, we will assign you with a dedicated Business Manager who will guide you through the application process to help give you the best chance for success.

Your Business Manager will be on hand to provide support and keep you up to date on the progress of your application.

Our aim is to ensure funds are released to businesses as quickly as possible.

For more information on CBILS, please visit https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

About SWIG Finance

 SWIG Finance is a social enterprise which provides loans and support to SMEs and Entrepreneurs in the South West region who can’t access sufficient funding from their bank.

We provide CBILS loans from £50,001 up to £250,000 and Start Up Loans of £500 – £25,000.