Foundation launches loan scheme

COMMUNITY finance company Foundation East has launched a “safety net” loan scheme to help small firms which are struggling to access bank lending to survive

Foundation East, which was formed in 2006 as a “lender of last resort” for businesses refused conventional bank finance, says it has encountered increasing demand over the past year from firms which would previously have been supported by banks.

Chief executive Katy Ford said: “We have been concerned that the problem has been cash-flow and some timely support is all that is needed to keep these businesses afloat.

“In addition to the start-up and longer-term loans, we are also talking to businesses about a bridging-loan facility that they can access at short notice. This will help, for example, to pay suppliers in order to meet orders.

“We are actively lending to small businesses and keen to receive applications. Now is a good time to build a business; some of the strongest businesses are those that have survived harsh economic climates.”

Applicants need to have a basic business plan and cash-flow analysis which is discussed in detail by one of Foundation East’s business loans managers.

The manager will come out to meet the people involved and see what they want to achieve. The final decision to lend is made by a panel of members – business people and other professionals who understand what it takes to make a success of a business.

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Among the businesses to have benefited from a Foundation East loan is home help provider Ultimate Care, based at Stutton, near Ipswich, which, despite a growing client list, was unable to access bank finance to fund its essential Social Services accreditation. The company turned to Foundation East and the strength of its business plan and the quality of its management secured the much-needed loan.

Foundation East is an Industrial and Provident Society which raises funds from its members, individual and corporate, in the form of non-transferable shares. It also receives some charitable and local government grants. Loans are leveraged against this capital which is held as a security deposit with Unity Trust Bank.

In addition to providing financial support, it has also introduced a coaching scheme to improve the business skills of new entrepreneurs.

For information, either about loans or becoming a member, call 08452 937751 or visit .