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Andeep Mangal, Proprietor of Thapers Accountants, Craig Errington, Chief Executive of Wesleyan and Winston Duguid, Group Project Director of the Epwin Group – all IOD members - have joined the ART Board.
The new Board members will help ART meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the current economic situation. “CDFIs have been quietly getting on with their business for the past 10 – 15 years,” says Dr Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART since its inception, “but now it’s time to really raise our profile and ensure that all the businesses that need us, as well as policy-makers looking for solutions to small business finance, are aware of how we can help. We have lent over £9m since launch, helping to create or preserve over 4,000 local jobs. We are delighted that three such experienced directors have agreed to devote some of their valuable time and skills to help us move forward.”
ART lends between £10,000 and £50,000 to start up and existing businesses in almost every market sector for any business purpose. Past borrowers include the Michelin-starred Purnell’s restaurant and innovation-award-winning Zybert Computing, as well as one of the UK’s fastest-growing social enterprises, Future Health and Social Care.
Support from the public and private sector, including individual social investors such as Sir Adrian Cadbury, provides ART’s loan fund.
“Like many CDFIs, we have seen an upsurge in demand since the credit crunch,” says Steve, “and I’m pleased to say we now have confirmation that we will be able to lend more in the coming year than we did last year. I would urge businesses not to be put off applying for loan finance, because they believe there is no money available or fear they are likely to be turned down. The banks may have become more cautious in their lending, but they are not the only option.”
In fact ART often lends alongside the banks and others, making up the last vital piece in a package of finance.