North small businesses are thrown cash lifeline
THE region's small business community was thrown a lifeline last night after it emerged it could be in for a £5m funding boost.
Newcastle-based North East Finance, which manages the region’s recently- launched £125m business support fund, says it is now in the process of launching a Micro-Loan Fund for small businesses.
This will provide loans and investments of between £10,000 and £20,000, from the £125m pot, to help in areas and sectors which are finding it difficult to access finance.
It comes at a time when many small businesses say they are still finding it difficult to get funding from banks.
Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance, which oversees investments from FBNEF (Finance for Business North East Fund), said: “This will help fill the funding gap which currently exists at the bottom end of the market. It will be available across the board to companies in all sectors.
“There will be an emphasis on investing in some of the region’s young entrepreneurs and in some of the region’s deprived areas.
“There is a gap in the funding market and we are in a position to provide funding at a time of continuing difficulties for North East businesses.”
Simon Hanson, policy manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in the North East, said: “Our recent surveys have shown that small business confidence is still fragile and this is hampering the recovery of the economy across the North East.
“To help tackle this we welcome the proposed extension of the North East Finance for Business Fund to help more small businesses grow and prosper.
“The new focus of the funding will be widely welcomed by many small businesses which are still finding it difficult to access funding at an affordable cost from traditional sources like the banks.”