SMEs urged not to give up in quest for funding

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A YORKSHIRE fund director has urged SMEs not to “give up immediately” if they can’t get finance from the banks as there are alternatives.

Stephen Waud, director of the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which offers support to businesses throughout West and North Yorkshire, told the Yorkshire Post that the region “desperately needs” people to start businesses up and invest in existing businesses.

He said demand is down 20 per cent on last year, adding that this time last year it was running at £1.2m, in terms of the value of loans, but this year has reached only £900,000.

The fund’s target is to hit £1.5m by the end of March next year. Mr Waud said it was still proving “challenging” for SMEs to secure finance from banks, adding: “What we are finding is that people seem to be battening down the hatches. They seem to be less enthusiastic about growth. There seems to be a lack of confidence generally among SMEs. There’s a slowdown in people wanting to apply for funding.”

He said this is “understandable”, but he urged SMEs not to “give up immediately” if they can’t get backing from the banks, adding: “There are alternatives.”

The BEF is a not-for-profit funder to new and start-up businesses. It is currently running a ‘Lend a Million’ campaign to encourage regional business enterprise to grow. Mr Waud said: “Organisations like the Business Enterprise Fund offer a real opportunity for risk takers to have a go.”

Businesses interested in finding out more can attend the BEF’s ‘Five O’clock Club’ at the Leeds Metropole Hotel from 5pm today. To book a place call Heather George on (01274) 206660.