Birmingham city skyline
ART Business Loans (ART) has launched a new loan fund for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Birmingham that are unable to obtain any or all of the finance they need from high street banks.
The new Birmingham Small Business Loan Fund (BSBLF) launched in partnership with Birmingham City Council, ThinCats and Unity Trust Bank, is aiming to lend £3m to Birmingham businesses over three years.
Among the first to take advantage of the new fund are: hi-tech company Synapse, based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, which offers a range of software products to help businesses to operate more efficiently; KMP Marine, based in Hockley, which specialises in the design and manufacture of safety critical products for the marine and automotive industries; and Newey & Bloomer, based in Ward End, manufacturer of the luxury Simplex copper kettle since 1903.
“We’re here to support enterprise and local jobs,” says Steve Walker, chief executive of ART. “Our average loan size is £35,000, a sum which it is particularly challenging for businesses to access elsewhere, but which can be vital to support cashflow, replace or repair equipment and enable growth.”
Businesses operating in Birmingham can borrow between £10,000 and £100,000 from the new BSBLF via ART. Loans can be used for any business purpose and are available to all market sectors, including retail. Repayment terms are from six months to four years and there is no penalty for early repayment.
Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy said: "Once known as the city of a thousand trades, Birmingham continues to be a vibrant centre for entrepreneurs who are prepared to work hard, strike out on their own, and get businesses off the ground.
"These risk-takers are hugely important to the city economy, creating jobs and wealth. Given the right support, they can help us create inclusive growth across Birmingham, so I'm delighted that we're able to support our SMEs through the Birmingham Small Business Loan Fund."
ART has lent over £21m since its launch in June 1997, helping hundreds of small firms across the West Midlands to grow and create thousands of jobs.
Brian Donnelly, managing director of Synapse, says: “I have sunk my own capital into the business, had various grants and the maximum in loans from the bank, but ART and the Birmingham Small Business Loan Fund has been crucial in helping us to generate sufficient capital to bring a new product to market, creating growth and stability for the business.”