This month I attended the Enterprise Loans East Midlands panel meeting, an initiative set up in conjunction with First Enterprise.
First Enterprise is an agency who support social enterprises and business development for local businesses in areas such as training, research and help with business plans, procurement advice, ongoing business support and access to finance at competitive rates. The latter is increasingly becoming important to businesses that are finding it difficult to obtain finance through the traditional channels such as the banks.
Funding can be used for securing services, purchasing of equipment or meeting the requirements of a shortfall in a particular project and loans between £3,000 and £100,000 are available. However a rigorous process of completing a detailed application form, business plan, forecasts, accounts and management accounts as well as personal information is required before any process can begin. One of the agency’s officers will then sift through the information, thoroughly review the cases and then put them forward to a panel meeting with a view of securing the required funding.
The panel is made up from representatives from the loan fund, commercial banks, business support agencies, local businesses and professionals who meet up once a month at Pride Park Derby to provide local businesses the opportunity to discuss their background, their business and why they would like the funding as stipulated in their business loan application and business plan. The meeting also allows the panel to ask questions to satisfy themselves as to whether the business should get the green light and secure the funding they require.
This month’s businesses entailed a start-up franchise which has the potential to grow rapidly according to their detailed business plan. Their requirement was for £50,000 for the refurbishment of a unit and three months’ rent deposit at the INTU shopping centre in Derby. The second business is an existing company in the garment industry, who were looking to invest £80,000 in stock to be able to service new customers as well as updating their current website for customers to order online.
I am pleased to say that the panel unanimously agreed on both occasions that their funding requirement should be fulfilled (the loans will be subject to security conditions) based on both businesses being able to achieve their targets as portrayed in their business plans and that they would be able to service the loan with ease. This would in turn enable the businesses to not only generate new employment but also help contribute to the economy as a whole!
If you would like more information on how First Enterprise can assist you, please contact Hari Vasdev at firstname.lastname@example.org.