SWIG supports 100 Cornish businesses
ONE HUNDRED businesses in Cornwall, unable to access sufficient bank finance, have been supported by a European fund which has lent more than £4 million in the South West.
In total, Small Loans for Business has supported 200 businesses and created several hundred jobs in the region since it was launched in 2009.
The funding comes from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund and in Cornwall it is delivered by Truro-based SWIG Finance.
The total number of jobs created or safeguarded by the fund in Cornwall is so far at 132 and rising.
Cornish bakery Da Bara is one of the latest businesses to access a loan from the fund. Set up by brothers Tim and Ben Hawkins in 2011, the business now bakes and supplies bread and pastries wholesale to high end restaurants and hotels across the county.
Landing outside bank lending criteria, Da Bara were unable to access conventional funding and were referred to SWIG by their bank.
Director and co-founder Ben Hawkins said: “The loan helped us add equipment to expand our product offering, including selling fine locally roasted seasonal coffee and some very nice pastry products.”
Naturally Learning Childcare, a small group of nurseries in Cornwall also accessed a loan from the fund. Business director Judith Chapman has so far taken on four full time posts as a result of the investment, contributing back into the local economy.
“We sought the funding to supplement a grant from Cornwall Council to refurbish and expand our Naturally Learning Poltair nursery to better cater for two year olds in the local area.
“The funding from SWIG was invaluable to us and without it we wouldn’t have been able to complete our building work. It enabled us to finance the project after the bank had refused to and as a result many young children in our care are benefitting.
"The support we have had from SWIG has been fantastic and we were thrilled to hear that our business loan took the total over the 4 million lent mark."
In the last quarter SWIG has seen unprecedented levels of enquiries for the fund, which remains available until 2015.
Managing Director John Peters is confident that this demonstrates tangible evidence of economic recovery and an appetite for growth amongst SMEs.
He said: “Business owners looking to invest in growth who can’t get funding from the banks shouldn’t be stopped in their tracks. That’s where SWIG comes in.
“SWIG specifically supports those businesses which are viable but not bankable.”
Katie Sandow, Marketing and Communications Manager, SWIG Finance
SWIG, South West Investment Group Services, is a not-for-profit organisation and member of the Community Development Finance Association that provides loan finance to businesses which cannot access sufficient finance from the banks and elsewhere.
SWIG operates across the South West supporting SMEs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
With finance sourced from both the public sector, via local authorities, European funds, central government and the private sector, we invest loan finance into south west businesses which are either just starting up or planning for growth and need funds to get things moving. Find out more here.
European Regional Development Fund
The South West Loans Fund is part financed by the Convergence European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund programme, which Is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. Find out more here.
Thursday 10 July 2014