BCRS Business Loans has passed another milestone by supporting more than 250 businesses in the West Midlands through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s Small Business Loans Fund.
BCRS, which specialises in funding for businesses that struggle to access finance from traditional lenders, has lent over £16m to 267 companies through the MEIF, a collaboration between the British Business Bank and 10 local enterprise partnerships in the West, East and South Midlands. The lending has led to 2,681 jobs being safeguarded, with a further 1,035 roles created.
Combining funding from local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, MEIF provides more than £300m of investment to boost small business growth in the Midlands.
Among the first businesses to access MEIF support through BCRS was Shropshire manufacturer Motiv Trailers, which accelerated its international expansion plans using a business loan in 2018 after more than 30 years in business.
Funding was required to help the family-owned firm step up production of its manufactured trailer range to boost profit margins and increase its presence in both European and US markets. On the back of the loan, Managing Director Tim Hughes reported that order books were “rapidly filling”, while new staff had been taken on to support the growth.
A business which recently accessed MEIF funds through BCRS was gym group Fitness Worx, which secured £100,000 to launch premises in Stratford-upon-Avon, the company’s seventh training centre to open. Having launched gyms focused on personal training and group classes across the West Midlands, Fitness Worx received funds to buy its new location and to purchase equipment.
Six new roles have been created through the launch by Managing Director Jack Gibson. Jack said: “We want to be the market leader in our sector so opening our new premises helps us deliver the next phase of our ambitious growth plans.”
BCRS, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), offers loans between £10,000 and £150,000 to businesses making a positive contribution to the social, environmental or economic wellbeing of the region to support their growth and recovery plans.
BCRS Business Loans Chief Executive Stephen Deakin said: “The BCRS Business Loans team are proud to have enabled more than 250 West Midlands companies to gain support for growth and job creation from the MEIF Small Business Loans Fund over the last five years.
“Working across a broad range of sectors, our investment levels have been strong throughout the region, helping SMEs secure backing for growth capital.
“Amid challenging economic times, small businesses remain the backbone of our economy and a force for social good. Working with partners like MEIF we will continue to ensure no viable business goes unsupported.”
Keira Shepperson, Director, Regional Funds at the British Business Bank, said: “By supporting more than 250 businesses, BCRS has enabled the MEIF Small Business Loan Fund to safeguard and create 1000 jobs combined, while meeting its commitment to improving access to finance across the Midlands by helping SMEs to shape future growth.
“The Fund was set up to support start-ups, along with established small businesses looking to grow. With our delivery partners we can help firms preparing for growth, which is a time when companies traditionally find it difficult to obtain the finance needed.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2022 and the European Investment Bank. The FSE Group manages a section of MEIF that provides investments between £100,000 and £1.5 million to support growing SMEs across the region.