Let’s Do Business Group (LDBG) has grown its coverage as a loan provider to start-up businesses, and businesses unable to access bank finance, by extending its offer to Essex. Last year, INVEST Essex became part of LDBG delivering services for Essex County Council across the Greater Essex area.
How INVEST Essex can assist start-ups with funding and finance
As part of their service to support business growth, INVEST Essex can now offer start-up loans to qualifying businesses across the county.
“It is great to add a start-up loan capability to our armoury. Start-up businesses are a key part of the SME landscape and these loans can also support growth up to two years from commencement of trading.”
David Rooke, Location Services Director, INVEST Essex
LDBG has been delivering the INVEST Essex service for almost 12 months and has identified that businesses and budding entrepreneurs are having difficulty accessing the funding they need to start and grow. LDBG provides access to finance through:
- The government backed start-up loan scheme
- Growth loans to businesses that can’t access finance from the banks
- Access to finance professionals who can help businesses identify and access the most appropriate finance to help them grow.
“We are thrilled that, through INVEST Essex, we are now able to boost the prospects for start-ups within the county. They can apply for an unsecured figure of up to £25,000, with no arrangement fee, to support business cash flow where funding from high street lenders cannot be found.”
Graham Marley, Chief Executive, Let’s Do Business Group
Highest rates of start-ups in the UK
According to the Essex Economic Commission Report, Greater Essex has the highest rate of start-ups in the UK with an average of 254 start-ups for each £1bn of GVA between 2010 and 2015 and a survival rate in line with the UK.
In general, for the 5.5 million SMEs in the UK, stumbling blocks for progress are often put down to a lack of bank lending and the general costs incurred with running a business. Evidence provided by the SME Alliance to a recent parliamentary enquiry showed banks are reluctant to lend money to SMEs. Larger banks are particularly unwilling to offer finance to SMEs while smaller banks were sticking to a more traditional lending model. Furthermore, much of the legislature and terms and conditions put forward by banking corporations is proving daunting for small business owners to comprehend.
Life sciences recruitment start-up JXL Rebus, based in Chelmsford, has become the first recipient of the new start-up loan scheme in Essex, arranged through INVEST Essex.
“We have been working extremely closely with the team at INVEST Essex following our launch in October 2017. We have found the support given not only through the start-up loan process, but for the business as a whole, to help us progress through this embryonic stage invaluable.”
Alex Jackson-Wood, Director Client Services, JXL Rebus
The INVEST Essex loan provider team
As part of its remit to support start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), INVEST Essex has recruited Dave Watson and Graham Johnson as ‘Essex SME Business Managers’ to offer free impartial advice and business support.
“Access to finance and funding remains difficult, which restricts SME growth. Every SME is unique, and we work hard to understand each business - developing bespoke finance solutions. We have an extensive network of contacts and it is fantastic working with owners across Essex helping them to grow their businesses.”
Dave Watson, Essex SME Business Manager, INVEST Essex
Dave Watson has more than 25 years of corporate banking experience across start-up, growth and turnaround businesses alongside Client Strategy Consultancy for NatWest Commercial across East Anglia, generating a wealth of expertise and contacts within the Essex SME market in the process.
Over the last four years, Dave has worked with a significant number of SMEs providing hands-on support to ‘make things happen’ and specialises in finding funding solutions. Most recently, he has supported Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) and Transport for London (TFL) to successfully relaunch the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in East London.
Graham Johnson, who was previously employed by Coutts and Baker Tilly working with businesses to maximise their value, also helps to deliver the service.
“My role at INVEST Essex is to help SMEs raise money, identify premises and to grow as businesses – to hopefully increase employment in Essex as a result. There is a 12-hour commitment of ‘free’ advice (covered by the European Regional Development Fund) in the form of dedicated face time but that can be increased if there is value. I have already been surprised by the volume of enquiries and look forward to a busy period ahead.”
Graham Johnson, Essex SME Business Manager, INVEST Essex
If you are interested in the funding and finance help provided to start ups by INVEST Essex and would like to find out more contact a member of the team here.
For more details about the Let’s Do Business Group see here.