LEP partnership to supply new funding service

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has entered a new agreement which is designed to fuel small business growth and job creation across the region.

Up to £2m a year will be available to businesses in Leeds City Region via the MarketInvoice platform – a service that allows businesses to release the funds tied up in invoices with long payment terms.

Business owners will be able to upload outstanding invoices online, where they are funded by investors including the LEP. When the invoice is paid, typically after 45 days, investors' money is returned and is ready to be used again.

The initial investment of £250,000 will be deployed on a continuous basis and will be earmarked exclusively for local businesses in a bid to drive a more consistent level of support for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area.

Cllr Peter Box, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:

"All too often I meet with businesses that say cash flow can be a major barrier to growth - in particular SMEs.

"We are continuously listening to the needs of our local businesses and looking at ways to help them prosper."

LEP chairman Roger Marsh added:

"Maintaining cash-flow is vital to small and medium businesses. That is why the LEP is contributing to this platform, to help provide a solution for businesses facing a long wait for payment of their invoices.

"By quickly releasing finance that would otherwise be tied up in the short-term, business owners can keep up momentum with their activity and invest money back in the business where it is most needed."

The partnership marks the fourth government and local authority tie-in for MarketInvoice which also work with British Business Bank, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and West Oxfordshire District Council.

MarketInvoice founder and chief executive Anil Stocker said:

"The average payment cycle for invoices across the UK is currently 45 to 60 days, which is too long for many companies that want to grow and expand operations.

"As an entrepreneur, I understand how difficult it can be to pin down the finance solutions that will help ease the day-to-day demands of running a business so I believe it’s vital that solutions like ours are easier to find and use on a local level. It’s fantastic that the LEP feels the same."