SWIG Finance (South West Investment Group Finance) has launched its first loan fund using the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (EFG) and Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) with investment from Triodos Bank.
The loan fund, worth £1.5 million, will support an estimated 30 SMEs in the South West that struggle to raise finance from traditional lenders. It is targeted at disadvantaged areas and communities in the region.
John Peters, Managing Director of SWIG Finance says: “The launch of this fund not only provides us with more capital alongside our own to lend to our customers, but it also offers SWIG Finance a blue print for developing similar funds of our own in the future.
“Triodos have been hugely supportive in helping us get this off the ground and we are looking forward to a positive and productive relationship for years to come.”
The new fund has been made possible following last years’ announcement from HM Treasury approving the use of CITR (Community Investment Tax Relief) with EFG. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) is a UK government-guaranteed lending scheme intended to help smaller viable businesses who may be struggling to secure finance, by facilitating bank loans of between £1,000 and £1 million.
EFG is administered by the British Business Bank to facilitate business lending to smaller businesses that are viable but unable to obtain finance from their lender due to having insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements.
Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance is delighted with the launch of the new fund. She says: “Small businesses are critical to the UK’s economic success but many still struggle to access the finance they need. Responsible finance providers like SWIG Finance are critical in meeting this need and supporting local economic growth.
“We are really excited that SWIG Finance is using this new opportunity of matching CITR alongside the EFG scheme, to secure investment to give that critical support to businesses across the South West. This is another example of responsible finance providers taking highly innovative approaches to secure investment into local businesses.”
Matt Boggan, relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: “This is as an exciting opportunity for the bank to use its depositor’s money to address one of the key challenges that small businesses face, which is the lack of access to loans, and ultimately broaden the scale and reach of its impact in the UK.”
Several applications are already in the pipeline, with the first investment anticipated by the end of July 2018.