A BRADFORD-based social enterprise is celebrating 15 years of supporting businesses - and has reached a milestone lending figure of £70m.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) specialises in providing responsible and flexible finance to start-up businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises across West and North Yorkshire, the North East and, most recently, the North West, with a focus on those which are making a positive social impact in their communities.

Steve Waud, chief executive at BEF, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have reached £70m of lending in our 15th year – we have also just celebrated a record month of lending for this year, with £1.15m loaned to start ups and SMEs across our districts throughout October. 

“In the current financial year we’ve completed 268 deals and helped to start 214 UK businesses and as reported in our social impact report earlier this year, we’ve invested more than 3,000 hours of time in supporting our clients."

BEF’s responsible finance model recognises the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring it is measuring its impact across areas such as gender equality, ending poverty and making settlements more inclusive.

Mark Iley, investment manager at BEF since 2012, said: “The social impact BEF is committed is inspiring and our ethos of loaning to others who are supporting their local communities, whether it’s through job creation, offering facilities or improving the surroundings, is especially rewarding.

"We’re all excited to see what the future brings."

Visit www.befund.org