A new loan scheme has been launched to help small businesses, including those in Uckfield, that want to expand but have difficulty accessing bank loans.
The Small Business Loan Scheme is open to companies employing ten people or less who would like to borrow between £5,000 and £15,000. The typical interest rate will be in the region of 13-14%.
An initial £100,000 is available under the scheme but that money will be re-cycled as loans are repaid and those managing it are hoping to achieve match funding from other organisations.
The scheme was launched by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, at the East Sussex National Hotel just outside Uckfield yesterday.
Mr Field said he knew how difficult it was to get cash out of banks and it was only thanks to friends that he was able to launch his own business many years ago.
He added it didn’t matter how wonderful an idea and how excellent a business plan were because without a track record it was difficult to secure loans and it was even more difficult in rural areas where so much business was done from a home location.
“We really want to encourage that kind of thing to go out and spread commercial activity across the county.
“I am a great believer in this kind of activity and congratulate Wealden and Eastbourne for bringing this together. It think it is really necessary.”
The scheme is being run by Wealden District Council and EDEAL, an organisation offering business advice. It will be open to businesses in Wealden and Eastbourne.
Wealden Council’s cabinet member for economic development Cllr Roy Galley and Christina Ewbank from EDEAL spoke about the loans and invited expressions of interest which would be forwarded to the organisation Let’s Do Business to be processed.
Graham Marley, chief executive of Let’s Do Business said his organisation had a team of business advisers who were used to working in the finance market.
They would meet clients to discuss their needs and requirements who would go on to put together a business plan. The amount of detail required would depend on the amount they wanted to borrow and support would be offered during the business planning process.
The next step would be for the applicant to go before a panel who would test the business plan by asking questions about it. The main criteria would be the creation of jobs as a result of getting a loan.
The point was made at the meeting that any business needing finance should get in touch to find out about different loans and grants available because there were options besides the Small Business Loan.
Let’s Do Business can be contacted on 0845 601 8326. Their website is at www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk.