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Enterprising plans to help businesses in Bradford
Bosses at a Bradford-based business support fund have devised a referral system to be used by banks to identify companies that need help but which they cannot offer loans to.
The postcode targeted referral scheme will be launched as a pilot programme by banks next month and could see monthly applications for cash from the Bradford-based Business Enterprise Fund soar from 60 to 1,000 a month.
BEF boss Stephen Waud has been working with the British Bankers Association to get banks to adopt the scheme which will help the 5,000 businesses a month that are turned down by banks.
Mr Waud said: “We’ve been working with the BBA and will hopefully be involved in the pilot of the referral scheme from July.
“It will see us receiving up to 1,000 applications a month from new start-ups and companies that have been turned down by banks. While we remain focused on the Bradford are, we will also be handling approaches across the Yorkshire region.”
Then move comes as BEF has expanded its team to deal with growing demand and prepare for future growth.
The £6 million fund will double once another £6 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund comes through. Mr Waud said BEF was in the final stages of getting the cash, which was applied for in 2011 but hit delays. Doubling the size of the pot would give BEF the scale to attract more extra funds from private sources.
Three former bankers have been appointed as the BEF which approved £300,000 of business loans in may as it dealt with “unprecedented” demand for funding.
The fund has already smashed its £31 million lending target for 2012.
It has recruited new managers John Fiddler, Simon Jackson and Mark Iley, who have a combined 60 years of banking experience They will work with clients turned down by banks to draw up proposals and present to the BEF Credit Committee to secure funding.
Mr Fiddler, 59, previously ran his own business consultancy for 12 years after redundancy from Barclays Bank.
Mr Iley, 50, has joined BEF after 31 years with Yorkshire Bank, the past 14 years as partner of small business.
Mr Jackson, 46, joined after a 27-year career with Yorkshire Bank, including the past seven years as area business manager.
BEF was launched eight years ago and has loaned £8 million to 350 businesses. Continued expansion will see it move into new offices in Little Germany soon.