New LCE fund will fill gap in small business loan market – Warwickshire County Council

Warwickshire County Council is launching a new loan scheme designed to help small businesses get started and existing ones grow.

The Local Communities & Enterprise Fund (LCE) will fill a gap in the loan market at a time when traditional loans are difficult to access.

The new scheme is part of the Council’s £140m Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF), set up to help the county’s economic recovery from Covid. The LCE will help boost the local economy and represents a significant council investment in helping new and small businesses get the financing they need to start up and grow.

Delivered for advice by Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), the LCE will provide vital support to smaller and early-stage businesses, as well as social enterprises. Its main target is micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees) and small businesses (less than 50), but applications will be welcome for medium-sized companies with up to 250 employees.

The fund is open to all business sectors, but priority will be given to those which are particularly important within the Warwickshire economy. These include advanced manufacturing and engineering; Digital creation and digital technologies; Culture, tourism and hospitality and low-carbon technologies

Other key sectors LCE will support are retail, community businesses, creative industries, health and wellbeing and social care.

The main objective of LCE is to enable businesses and social enterprises to start, establish and grow, thereby improving their communities, preserving jobs and creating new ones, including learning opportunities. The Fund will also support the transition to a low-carbon economy and adaptation to climate change.

Applications from underrepresented groups, including women-led businesses, youth, care leavers and minority communities will be especially welcome and given additional weighting when evaluating proposals.

Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Kam Kaur said: “We are very pleased to launch the Local Communities and Business Fund, which forms an integral part of our groundbreaking recovery and recovery fund. investment in Warwickshire.

“Warwickshire has a wonderful range of small businesses and they are an integral part of our county’s economy and communities. The LCE will support businesses looking to consolidate and grow after Covid and will also help other entrepreneurs to turn their ideas and skills into new small businesses.

“It’s also a great example of implementing our community approach, we’re moving forward to help businesses and social enterprises have real and lasting impact within their communities.”

Sheridan Sulskis, Managing Director of Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, said: “Local businesses play such an important role in society by creating and maintaining jobs for local people and supporting local economic activity. Yet many sustainable small businesses in these communities lack access to traditional financing and remain underserved.

“CWRT is an ethical lender and takes a transparent, fair and relationship-based approach that meets the needs of our clients. We know that access to the right support and funding can transform business owners and their employees in the local community.

“We are proud to work alongside the WCC to provide this inclusive and accessible funding program and look forward to supporting start-ups, existing businesses and social enterprises in Warwickshire.”

Keely Hancox, Director of Operations at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “In the current economic climate, access to finance can be a barrier for people considering starting a business and for small businesses looking to start a business. wish to develop.

“Warwickshire County Council’s new LCE fund is a much-appreciated investment, aimed at micro, small and start-up businesses.”

The LCE runs alongside another element of the WRIF, the £90m Business Investment Growth Window which provides debt funding to medium and large businesses (over 250 employees) and was launched in the UK. summer 2021.

Garland K. Long