social impact report & annual statement

Social enterprise receives £1m loan to support business in North East

BEF has received a £1m loan to support businesses and entrepreneurs in the North East.

BEF has received a £1m loan to support businesses and entrepreneurs in the North East.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which specialises in providing responsible, flexible finance to businesses who are making a positive impact in their communities and have difficulty accessing finance from mainstream providers, has received the loan from the Isenberg Family Charitable Foundation. The foundation forms part of Ceniarth, a private family office and foundation focused on funding market-based solutions benefiting underserved communities.

As part of Ceniarth’s long-term commitment to CDFIs (community development finance institutions) internationally, the loan to BEF’s North-East branch marks its first investment in the UK SME-Lending CDFI market.

Through a range of investing activity, Ceniarth provides capital to help supply products, services and support that directly impact marginalised populations. By financing enterprises, they’re able to ensure long-term support and benefits for the surrounding communities.

Diane Isenberg, Founder of Ceniarth, said: “Our goal at Ceniarth is to apply the most efficient form of capital to produce measurable impacts in the communities that need it most.

"We had been looking to partner with a UK based CDFI to support business growth in areas which are underfunded and in desperate need of further support to flourish. BEF is the perfect partner to receive this initial £1m investment thanks to their nearly two-decades of supporting businesses who are unable to access mainstream finance yet have ambitions and goals to serve their community and drive real, positive impact locally."

"According to the Office of National Statistics, the North East has the highest proportion of deprived households in England – with BEF’s team on the ground here and in touch with the local business community, impressive start-ups and ambitious entrepreneurs, we know they’ll help distribute the funds to best support the region."

As a social enterprise itself, BEF’s most recent social impact report demonstrated that 66% of loans were within the most deprived areas of the UK with £1.3m being lent to businesses across the North East and Teesside.

Stephen Waud, CEO at BEF said: "The BEF North East team will look to create and generate support for amazing business owners in the region, seeking to make a real difference to as many business owners as it can. The initial investment of £1m marks Ceniarth’s commitment to supporting this work in the region."

"With a mission to provide flexible finance to businesses, helping to grow and improve the wealth of the regions and people we serve, we’ll be working with key stakeholders to make the impact it desires to make in the most underserved communities of the region."

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