Owning your own business is as popular as ever.

Britain’s start-up scene is showing no signs of slowing down. As trends change and workers become fed up of the corporate world, small businesses are being founded as new found entrepreneurs want to become their own boss. 600,000 new companies were started last year, a rise by over 3% from the previous[1]. These emerging businesses contain the potential to grow and become the bedrock of our changing economy.

For 12 years Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) have grown to cover Yorkshire and the North East of England and offer loans up to £150,000 for new and growing businesses. Since the financial crash in 2008, demand for alternative finance is higher than it ever has been, as banks are unable to fully assist with the needs of young and emerging SME businesses.

BEF is an official Delivery Partner for the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme, which was set up to encourage and strengthen emerging businesses with unsecured lending up to £25,000 for terms up to 5 years at 6%. When the banks are unable to assist, this is realistically the best solution for start-ups that are unwilling to give up equity.

The number of people employed is key to note when measuring how effective SME businesses will be in the economy. On paper over 99% of UK businesses are SME’s, employing 15.6 million people with a combined annual turnover of £1.8 trillion[2].

2000 jobs have been safeguarded or created as a result of BEF’s lending which has amounted to nearly £7 million in the last year alone – £1.8 million of which in Start Up Loans.

This lending has contributed nearly £40 million to the Yorkshire and North East economy - all businesses assisted were unable to access reasonable finance from mainstream lenders.

As the country recovers from recession a growing demand for food & drink and retail businesses is occurring, particularly in Leeds and the surrounding area. BEF recently arranged a loan for entrepreneur Adam Lewis, who has opened bar and restaurant ‘Everybodys Social’ in the town of Guiseley.

Adam saw the opportunity for his business existed in the area and balancing a range of British favourites on the menu with cocktails and edgy décor, Adam’s aim to welcome all generations has got off to a positive start.

“I know Guiseley really well and it needed something like this” Adam said. “As a town it’s expanding quickly, it’s still got a good suburban feel and is only 15 minutes by train to Leeds city centre, it’s perfect for commuters.”

Adam has created 50 jobs in the area and has big plans to open 10 further venues across the North over the next 10 years. As SME’s grow, their influence spreads – all it often takes is the funding and support to ignite a businesses potential.

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) are a not for profit organisation that lend money to small and medium sized businesses. Beginning in 2004, BEF are a Responsible Finance Provider that works across Yorkshire and the North East with creating and safeguarding jobs at the heart of their mission, with a particular focus on businesses set in less advantaged backgrounds. Over the last year their investment team has grown to 14 and plans to continue growth are set for the year ahead, with a focus on expanding their offering further into the North East of England.

[1] Centre for Entrepreneurs

[2] Federation of Small Businesses

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About Business Enterprise Fund

The Business Enterprise Fund is a social enterprise that lends money to businesses in West & North Yorkshire & the North East, who are unable to get lending from the banks. As a social enterprise there are no share holders – all profits generated are reinvested into the business.