A £2 million loan fund for small businesses facing difficulties accessing essential finance as they look to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will see its latest round open in April.
The three-year Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund will provide loans from £10,000 to £50,000 to companies across a range of sectors.
It is the latest support programme delivered by Staffordshire County Council as part of its ‘Staffordshire Means Back to Business’ long-term strategy.
The authority will work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and not-for-profit organisation BCRS Business Loans, which will administer the programme for both councils.
The 2021 fund will be made up of contributions from the county council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, BCRS, European Regional Development Fund and the North Staffordshire Risk Capital Fund.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “The business loan fund supports small viable companies to access essential finance where they have struggled with commercial lenders.
“This, like all the programmes we have launched since our Staffordshire Means Back to Business strategy began last summer, is targeted support where it is needed most.
“We have worked successfully with BCRS for a long time and will combine our efforts with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent for this round of funding.
“The loan fund has previously enabled businesses to expand, diversify and take on new employees; over the next three years we will build on this success – supporting 200 business which will contribute to our economic growth and create jobs in our communities.”
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Chief executive of BCRS Business Loans, Stephen Deakin, said: “We are delighted to be working with Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council again after delivering five successful loans funds in the past.
“The new loan fund will build on this support as small businesses start to shift their efforts towards recovering from the extensive impacts of Covid-19.
“We understand that small businesses are looking for a relationship-based approach to lending, where dedicated finance professionals assess each loan application based on its own merits, rather than using impersonal computerised credit scoring systems.
“As a not-for-profit lender dedicated to social and economic impact, we believe that no viable business in Staffordshire should go unsupported and are pleased to extend additional funding support to them via this fund.”
The fund is set to be approved by the county council’s cabinet at its next meeting on March 17.
To register an interest in the business loan fund, email [email protected]