Richard Glinn, Marketing and Membership Manager at Foundation East, was the guest speaker at a meeting of thebestofhaverhill which took place at Days Inn Haverhill recently.
Foundation East, which is a Community Development Finance Institution, offers a funding lifeline to businesses that have been refused loans by the banks. The organisation operates across six counties in the East of England, including Suffolk.
Richard explained how Foundation East works, “We are a not for profit membership organisation, our aim is to support both start up and established businesses, that have a viable business plan, with loans of up to £50,000.
We take a more flexible view than the banks on what is a good venture to lend to. For Foundation East it is not just about the numbers stacking up, we look deeper than that. The people and the proposition are as important as the accounts.
We work with the banks; they will recommend businesses to approach us if they have not successfully satisfied the bank’s criteria. During this first quarter approved funding has been split 50:50 between start ups and established businesses.
A typical scenario where we have helped is with businesses who have won a new contract and have been struggling to manage the working capital required to fund additional work – access to funding is the make or break for their company in this situation.”
Since April 2012 Foundation East has approved loans totalling close to £300,000 to businesses within the region including £50,000 which was disbursed to a Haverhill company in June.
Once a business has applied to Foundation East they are assigned a Loan Manager who will work with them throughout the process, becoming their project champion and representing their company to a Loan Panel.
When an application is successful the Loan Manager continues to work alongside the business owner over the duration of the loan, calling them monthly and visiting them quarterly in order to provide business support. The overall objective is to help the business succeed and to eventually return them to the standard financial sector.
Elaine Carr, owner of thebestofhaverhill comments, “Many start up firms and established businesses are refused funding from the banks and they may shelve their ideas for growth or for a new business at that point. Foundation East offers a lifeline to these people, an alternative way to realise their dreams and ambitions. If you have been refused funding from your bank I encourage you to visit the Foundation East website – www.foundationeast.org and take a few moments to read about the type of businesses that they have helped, it’s a very wide spectrum, from tree surgeons to a music shop, and quite inspiring!”