Despite the ongoing economic and political uncertainty, BEF has worked hard to impact 384 businesses with much needed growth investment. This includes support for businesses and communities that are underserved by mainstream lenders.
In keeping with our commitment to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to finance, female entrepreneurs received 27% of all loans. Our continued support of entrepreneurs of all ages led to young people and over 55s receiving 25% and 19% of all loans, respectively.
Lending to the business services sector increased by £1.66m and accounted for 23% of all loans while lending to the construction sector increased by £1.65m and accounted for 15% of all loans. The all-important manufacturing sector accounted for 15% of all lending. In addition, the creative, retail and hospitality sectors all saw good growth.
Our loans continue to have a positive impact in ‘disadvantaged’ areas where access to flexible finance has a huge impact on businesses, jobs and local communities. Nearly half of all our loans were delivered in such areas and helped create or safeguard 541 jobs.
Our dedicated and highly experienced team have worked hard to achieve record lending. While their excellent effort is acknowledged and appreciated, we could not have done it without strong relationships with our partners and stakeholders. These include local business advisers, accountants, local authorities, banking institutions and many more. Crucially, we continue to enjoy a strong relationship with our parent company, the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to everyone for the support they have provided. We look forward to continuing our close working relationships with them throughout the year.