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ART has reached £10m in loans delivered to businesses based in Birmingham and Solihull that have been unable to access the finance they need - either in part or at all - by a bank.
Commenting on reaching the £10m milestone, Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART said: “We are here to enable small businesses to access the finance they need and it’s good to see how our loans have helped small and medium-sized, commercial and not-for-profit businesses, operating in almost every market sector to survive, start up or grow over the years. We are often the last vital piece of the jigsaw in a finance package lending alongside others, but in some cases we lend on our own. Either way we enable business activity to happen that otherwise wouldn’t.”
ART was a pioneer of its model of raising a mixture of public sector and private sector funding to lend locally and its way of providing finance for enterprise has not only been replicated throughout the UK, it has also been closely researched by visitors to its Aston Cross base from all over the world including Japan, Korea and Europe. It lends between £10,000 and £50,000, with an average loan size of £22,000.
Since the credit crunch in 2008 ART and other similar lenders in the West Midlands, who all belong to the Fair Finance Consortium, have seen demand rise substantially, but the good news is that all still have funds available to support businesses in their areas and especially to help them create or preserve jobs.
“It seems that every day we are hearing about a new initiative to help small businesses access finance, but these are not yet on-stream. ART, and the other CDFIs in the West Midlands, have money available right now,” says Steve.