social impact report & annual statement

Region’s SME optimism boosted with record funding from specialist lender

Independent businesses and start-ups across the North of England have benefitted from a record year of lending from BEF.

In the last nine months, the small not-for-profit lender has supported 300 businesses and helped protect over 800 jobs with over £12m in loans.

Stephen Waud, CEO of BEF, says: “This is about supporting the smallest and hardest hit businesses in the region with critical finance when they need it most. For every pound we lend, £4 is created in the economy - through saving jobs, creating jobs or creating wealth. In 2020 we loaned £12m and added £48m to the economy. Over the last 15 years, we have added over £200m to the region's economy which is a big sum for a small outfit like ours."

“We haven’t been this busy since the 2008 financial crisis when banks and other financial institutions forsook small and micro businesses on an unprecedented scale. We are here to keep viable businesses going, and to help brave new entrepreneurs launch into these very choppy economic waters.”

BEF has been delivering much-needed finance to businesses across the North for over 15 years. First set up in 2004 by the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, the responsible finance lender has faithfully delivered on its mission to support businesses with flexible finance when they need it most. BEF was the first in the UK to deliver a CBILs loan and continues to work closely with the government in providing much-needed support to small and micro businesses, which make up over 95% of the UK economy.

Stephen concludes: “These figures show how small amounts of money can have a staggering impact in communities and on small business owners’ lives. Every loan is a job saved, a business surviving and a family supported.”

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