social impact report & annual statement

The SME Finance Charter

Helping SMEs respond to Covid-19.

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) is a not-for-profit social enterprise, set up to provide loans to SME businesses that will help them thrive and grow. We are committed to supporting your business and help you realise your potential.

As a social enterprise, our goal is simple; to provide flexible finance to businesses in areas that need it most. We’re proud to be part of the effort to support and grow the regional economies that make up the North of England and have developed a unique lending proposition for this to continue.

BEF are a proud signatory of The SME Finance Charter, a voluntary agreement that shows how UK lenders plan to support their business customers. To show our support we commit to achieve the following:

We’re open for business and ready to lend

The Bank of England has said that the banking system is resilient and prepared for the wide range of risks it could face. Here at BEF we will describe our offer to you, including the type of applications we are able to support. We are committed to responsible lending, putting the interests of our customers first and supporting the UK’s economy.

We’ll help you build back better after Covid-19

From the start of the pandemic BEF has been at the forefront of supporting SMEs. We were the first in the country to provide a CBILs loans. Lenders supported businesses with over £75.1 billion of lending through Government-guaranteed Covid business loan schemes.

BEF now provide various resources to help your business build back better after the pandemic. These might include web resources, fact sheets, videos and workshops, together with face-to-face advice and signposting. We continue to support our clients with the use of the RLS scheme and providing support through our direct relationships with clients.

We’ll support your application and signpost other options if needed

BEF will describe what you can expect in an application, for example management accounts, cashflows and any security. If we can’t help then we will explain the options that would be open to you if your application was declined. If you are seeking finance, you should speak to a range of providers to compare different financial products and choose the one that is right for your business.

We’ll treat you fairly at all times

It is our commitment to put your interests at the heart of what we do. We are committed to treat you fairly and act responsibly when it comes to your application. You can expect standards of good service and we will do our utmost to deliver it. But we will always consider what is the most appropriate and responsible thing to do.

We’ll work with the government-owned British Business Bank (BBB) to support SMEs

The British Business Bank is dedicated to making finance markets work better for small and mid-sized businesses. When appropriate, we will signpost to the BBB’s Finance Hub and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ Business Finance Guide, which offer information on finance options.