social impact report & annual statement

BEF adds over £44 million to the region's economy

Young entrepreneurs driving the northern economy thanks to independent funding.

BEF are pleased to announce a record year of lending, adding over £44 million to the region’s economy - and 25% of its loans were to northern entrepreneurs aged between 18-35.

From 2019 - 2020, the independent, not for profit loans provider has invested almost £11 million – a year-on-year increase of 54% - and safeguarded or created 541 jobs, helping 234 new businesses launch.

CEO Steve Waud comments: “When times are hard it’s nice to be able to put out some good news and try and encourage others. BEF is a small specialist lender that tries to disrupt the mainstream finance perspective with its approach to lending. We work to change communities through the innovative use of finance and have been delighted to support young entrepreneurs.”

BEF provides funding, support and advice for growing businesses across all sectors. Its aim is to deliver flexible finance to businesses in geographical areas that need it most, by providing unsecured business loans when other lenders such as mainstream banks cannot fully assist. 

23% of the support over the last 12 months has been to business services, 15% to construction, 13% to hospitality, 15% to logistics and 11% to retail. Businesses that have launched and thrived thanks to BEF range from local radio stations to independent drinks companies, legal firms to cyber security providers and sustainable clothing brands.

Steve concludes: “Since COVID hit, we have been working around the clock helping more businesses get the money they need to survive and then ultimately thrive. Our aim is to make a difference by using finance that transcends just adding shareholder value - ours is about - profit, people and place: the environment.”

Full details of BEF's record year can be found in our Social Impact Report 2019/2020 which is available to download now.

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