social impact report & annual statement

BEF have received a top UK accolade from the Citi Foundation

We are delighted to be recognised for our impact.

We are delighted to have been named the winner of the “Impact Award” at the 2019 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation and delivered in partnership with Responsible Finance are the annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed “responsible” business finance - and the providers, like us, which work with them.

The "Impact Award" recognises our contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities we serve, and for our demonstrable performance towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

In 2018 we lent £8.8m to 399 clients, helped launch 179 new businesses, and helped create or safeguard 985 UK jobs. This was delivered alongside 4,000 hours of tailored business support and brought £39m of economic benefit to the regional economy.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards judges were impressed by our focus on measuring, demonstrating and improving our impact. This included showing how our performance contributes to the UNSDGs.

Chief executive of BEF, Steve Waud said: "I’m thrilled that our work supporting businesses and social enterprises in the North of England, particularly in disadvantaged areas within North and West Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East has been recognised."

Steve continued: "Measuring and reporting on our impact has been a key area of focus in the last 12 months and the UNSDGs align naturally with our ethos as a responsible lender with a social purpose. This prestigious accolade is a testament to the work of our team - we’re absolutely delighted."

The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting and celebrating the responsible finance sector, as well as youth entrepreneurs through its Pathways to Progress initiative that is tackling youth unemployment globally.

“The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are a celebration of the enterprises and local businesses which are the backbone of our communities. They also recognise the important role responsible finance providers play in supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which enables many microenterprises to grow and scale their businesses,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development. “This year’s Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Business Enterprise Fund makes an enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves.”

Our clients, Tom McKenzie and Sam Leach of Spark:York were named the "UK's young entrepreneurs of the year” in the same awards. Spark:York launched an affordable boxpark for retailers and food businesses in York thanks to a £190k loan and business mentoring support from BEF. It has attracted 500,000 visitors in its first 10 months and has a £1.8m turnover.

For more information on loans to help your business start, grow or flourish please contact our investment team on 0800 080 3145.

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