Somerset Businesses Find New Hope for Finance
Thursday 11 August 2011
Two Somerset businesses to benefit from a joint council and charity sector loan have spoken enthusiastically about the boost their enterprises received.
Economic prosperity is a key priority of Somerset councils and three councils took a leading role in establishing ‘Fredericks Somerset’.
Entrepreneurs looking to expand or start a company, who have been refused finance by banks or other lenders, may apply to Fredericks Somerset for a loan of up to £10,000 (average loan size awarded is under £4,000).
The fund currently stands at £130,000 with contributions from: West Somerset Council £30,000; Somerset County Council £20,000; Taunton Deane Borough Council £30,000; and Fredericks Foundation £50,000.
So far, five companies have received loans totalling about £19,000.
Ali Flind of Lush Motors, based in West Quantoxhead, was able to use a loan from Fredericks Somerset to refurbish her classic purple 1975 Ford Cortina to hire out for special occasions.
Ali said “Fredericks Somerset were really helpful, and filling in the cash flow and the business plan made me think seriously about where I wanted to take the business and how I could achieve my goals.
“The refurbishment of the car is almost complete. Once it is finished I will also be rebuilding the website and producing marketing materials for a business re-launch in September. I could not have achieved this without help from Fredericks Somerset and I'm looking forward to taking my business from strength to strength in the coming months.”
Belinda McCarthy, of Belinda McCarthy Photography, based in Wheathill, has also benefitted from a loan. She said: “Photography requires a lot of investment in equipment in order to work at a professional level.
“The loan Fredericks Somerset awarded me enabled me to invest in more equipment and really move my business onto the next level. Therefore, I am able to quote for much bigger and more prestigious jobs across the South West and beyond.
“Since my loan, I’ve had the opportunity to work for LEGO, Superdrug, the NHS and other large organisations, including celebrity photo shoots – something I could never have considered before Fredericks Somerset’s help.
My business is now really going places and I’m thrilled to be one of the foundation’s success stories.”
Decisions to award loans and the terms are made by funding panels with representatives of the relevant council attending.
Business owners are also given mentoring and training to help them achieve the targets stated in the cashflow and business plans submitted with their applications.
Cllr David Sanders, West Somerset Council's lead member for economic regeneration, said: "It is vital that viable small and medium sized businesses get practical and financial support, particularly in the current economic climate.
"Fredericks can help local firms with good business plans get the funding they need to start up or expand. It can even help those who have been refused borrowing by banks and other lenders. If your business could benefit from this support, simply contact Fredericks and ask for further information."
Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “It’s heartening to hear about how the Fredericks Somerset fund is helping small businesses make a big difference to people’s careers. I wish all of them well.
“Somerset County Council is committed to the survival and growth of the county’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, and will provide finance where it is needed most.
“The beauty of Fredericks Somerset is that it supports businesses which have failed to get finance elsewhere and need a helping hand. It is also a self-sustaining fund because the loans are repaid.
“We are always pleased to receive applications and I hope the success seen in the case studies here will attract more. I’m sure there are many businesses which would qualify and would appreciate an additional source of finance with business mentoring and other forms of crucial support included as well.”
If any business is interested in enquiring about a Fredericks Somerset loan they should contact Annie Popham on 01823 680042 or email@example.com or see www.fredericksfoundation.org .
Notes to Editors:
The Fredericks Foundation was set up in 2001 by entrepreneur Paul Barry-Walsh. Fredericks Somerset was established in February 2010.
Applicants for a loan need to show they have tried and failed to get finance from a bank or mainstream lender.
Sole traders, partnerships and limited companies are all eligible to apply.
Fredericks Somerset is managed by an advisory board, with participating council representation, to consider applications.
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