Social enterprise celebrates 15 years of lending with…

Social enterprise celebrates 15 years of lending with £70m milestone

A social enterprise is celebrating 15 years of supporting businesses having reached a milestone lending figure of £70m.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which has offices in Bradford, Leeds, Goole, Tees Valley has also opened an office in Manchester this year.

The 22 strong team specialises in providing responsible and flexible finance to start-up businesses and SMEs across West and North Yorkshire, the North East and, most recently, the North West, with a focus on those which are making a positive social impact in their communities.

Steve Waud, chief executive at BEF, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have reached £70m of lending in our 15th year – we have also just celebrated a record month of lending for this year, with £1.15m loaned to start ups and SMEs across our districts throughout October.

“In the current financial year we’ve completed 268 deals and helped to start 214 UK businesses and as reported in our social impact report earlier this year, we’ve invested more than 3,000 hours of time in supporting our clients. Our team of investment managers, which has grown significantly this year due to demand, is extremely passionate about supporting their clients in everything from business planning through to execution.”

This year, BEF has introduced a new short-term loan to its offering, which already includes start-up loans between £500 – £25k loans for growing businesses at £25k – £250k.

Steve added: “We introduced the short term loan of up to £100k for those who require an immediate support with cash flow, asset purchase or business development – so far client feedback has been exceptionally positive; we recognise that each deal is individual and therefore a bespoke approach is required.”

BEF’s responsible finance model recognises the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring it is measuring its impact across areas such as gender equality, ending poverty and making settlements more inclusive.

Mark Iley, investment manager at BEF since 2012, said: “The social impact BEF is committed is inspiring and our ethos of loaning to others who are supporting their local communities, whether it’s through job creation, offering facilities or improving the surroundings, is especially rewarding. We’re all excited to see what the future brings!”

The Business Enterprise Fund has offices in Leeds, Bradford, Goole, Teesside and Manchester. For more information please visit www.befund.org