Northern-based business lender, the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) has announced that for every £1 invested, over £4 has been added in value to the local economy, amounting to a £29 million benefit this year.
The figures, from BEF’s Social Impact Report & Annual Statement, have been released following their successful tender earlier in the year to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s Microfinance contract.
BEF’s report also reveals a continuing trend in start-up businesses, with 175 new businesses created in the last year in Yorkshire and the North East, following investment through the Government’s Start Up Loans Programme, of which they are a Delivery Partner. Over five years BEF has supported the creation of 824 new businesses, helped save or create over 2,000 jobs, and invested over £30 million resulting in £86 million economic benefit.
Stephen Waud, BEF Chief Executive said he was thrilled to see the level of impact BEF’s lending has made.
“As a social enterprise, we do things differently. This year’s figures - and figures from the previous five years - demonstrate that the way we responsibly lend to small businesses can be sustainable and have an enormous impact on the economy.
“The alternative finance sector has transformed since we began in 2004. We’ve positioned ourselves to grow and avoid the pitfalls for which continues to be an innovative and extremely competitive landscape.”
Of the 452 client deals this year, 23% of BEF’s lending was to manufacturing businesses. Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy at the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the figures look very positive.
“In the last twelve months, our own research has reported good growth within the manufacturing sector with exports benefiting from more competitive exchange rates. Our research indicates the sector has continued to invest and so I’m really pleased to see nearly a quarter of BEF’s lending has supported this important sector.”
Looking ahead, the report points towards further company growth, following development of the online application process.
“We’re continuing to streamline our processes so we can serve more businesses in an efficient way, meeting our client’s needs, so they can access the finance they need to grow their business.” said Stephen.