"Bradford businesses in need of financial advice"

As decision time nears for local companies hoping to win support from this year’s Local Business Accelerators campaign, which will provide hands-on support to three Bradford businesses, backers of the scheme have highlighted the need for clearer financial information to help young businesses grow.

According to LBA backers, three- quarters of young business-owners believe that not enough information is available on finance available to new enterprises or how to access it.

Business in You, a partnership between the Government and private sector and LBA supporters, is helping businesses access information on finance through its Find Finance section.

It can help businesses plan, prepare and apply for funding and includes an interactive business support and finance finder to help assess the best type of funding for each business’s needs.

The range includes start-up loans, now available for 18 to 30-year-olds, along with a package of business support; Enterprise Finance Guarantee, providing additional lending to businesses lacking the security to secure a traditional loan; and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme offering significant tax incentives to investors who fund qualifying small businesses.

Business in You says four out of five SME owners have no formal training in financial matters and only 20 per cent seek advice before applying for a loan.

Businesses can connect with business finance mentors through MentorsMe.co.uk which has more than 1,000 volunteers who are current and former high street bank staff who will mentor businesses for free.

Business in You says preparing a convincing business plan with projected profits, cash flow management, market research and a marketing plan, in addition to showing how the funding will be used, is also key to a successful application for finance. Help will be available during National Business Planning Week, on February 11-17 by the Your Business Matters Tour and Business in You, which has produced two key resources for small businesses – A Guide to Financial Management for SMEs and the ICAEW Small Business Finance Best Practices Guide.

Both are available to download free from the Business in You website.

Six firms have been shortlisted for the Telegraph & Argus’s LBA initiative.

Three winners will receive free advertising in the T&A along with mentoring from a leading local business figure.

Shortlisted businesses are: Alumni Tuition, Thornbury; Care Dynamics Ltd, Manningham; Click On Tyres, Shipley; 06 Care Limited, Keighley; Riverford Home Delivery, Bradford; and Simply Divine Things, Haworth.

Winners will be chosen by LBA mentors, former Yorkshire Building Society chief executive Iain Cornish; Roland Clark, partner at accountants Clough & Co and Stephen Waud, director of the Business Enterprise Fund with the winners announced in early February.

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