Supporting small, home-grown firms

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A CAMPAIGN to help small businesses grow and develop by offering them loans when they have been turned down by banks has been launched in Bury St Edmunds.

The Support Home-Grown Businesses campaign is an initiative of Foundation East, a community finance company that makes small business loans of up to £50,000.

It says small business bring huge social and financial benefits to the regional economy – providing serviced, training young people, sponsoring local sports teams and creating employment.

The foundation relies on people on regional loan panels, not computers to decide when to lend the money.

Now it is calling for more members to support its work and help set up the panels.

Katy Ford, chief executive of Foundation East, based in Bury, said: “Members are vital to the success of the Foundation East. We are looking for more members with an interest in their local economy to help us.

“With their help we would like to set up loans panels across the region to help provide businesses with easier access to finance.”

The loans decisions will be made based on business viability and the individual’s merit, not on automated credit scoring, and so will help provide finance to those who may have already been turned down.

One company making handmade furniture using traditional skills, has already benefited from the campaign. Chordal Green was refused a bank loan – now it has been able to take on larger orders fromn around the World, and employs two apprentices.