Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) has opened an office in Manchester, following 15 years’ operating throughout the North – and has appointed investment managers Steph Cooper and Tim Burt to head up its first Northwest office.
BEF provides funding, support and advice for growing businesses across all sectors. A not-for-profit social enterprise, its aim is to deliver flexible finance to businesses in geographical areas that need it most, in order to help the North thrive, by providing unsecured business loans when other lenders cannot fully assist.
With a track record of supporting early stage and start up tech businesses, BEF has supported a diverse range of businesses from sustainable clothing, to seaweed farms, to fintech startups. Last year alone, the company funded 175 brand new businesses, investing over £7m of client funds, creating or safeguarding 820 jobs and adding £31m to the economy in the North.
“We’re delighted to be moving to Manchester, there is so much exciting business growth here,” says Steph, who left her role as a relationship manager at Barclays earlier this year to research and launch the Manchester office. “I’m really looking forward to meeting a diverse range of businesses here in Manchester – this city is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and that is exactly what we support.”
Partnering with the British Business Bank, BEF delivers startup loans from £500 – £25,000 as well as small business loans from £25,000 to £100,000 and growing business loans up to £250,000. The organisation was launched almost 15 years ago in Bradford, growing steadily to cover the wider Yorkshire and Humberside region, the North East and more recently, the North West. Up until now, customers in this region were served by existing teams, but with huge growth in the Greater Manchester area in particular, BEF recognised the need to launch a bricks and mortar office and will operate from Regus at Manchester Airport from August.
“We offer flexibility and support with every investment we make,” says Stephen Waud, CEO of BEF. “This is key to our success; bending and moving with the cycle of the businesses we work with. We’re proud to be part of the effort to support and grow the regional economies that make up the North of England and have developed a unique lending proposition for this to continue.
Steph and Tim joining and working on the ground in Manchester means we can deliver the personal and bespoke service that has helped thousands of businesses launch and grow over the last 15 years.”
The organisation has already started support with its first Manchester client, CB Partnership, an accountancy practice based in Whitefield. BEF has raised funds to extend their payroll services, allowing them to employ two new people, update their software and strategically market the business and its new business service package.