Charity Offering Loans To Scilly’s Businesses

hugh town centre summerWhen the last Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, met business people two years ago at a lunch at the Star Castle Hotel, he heard how they found bank finance hard to secure.

Now islanders who want to expand or develop their companies are being offered loans from a national charity.

The Fredericks Foundation helps business people who are unable to access the finance required from conventional sources.

They’ve operated in Cornwall for just under a year and are keen to expand to Scilly.

Entrepreneurs can apply for up to £10,000 for a start-up business, although Manager Allison Livingstone says the average loan request is half that amount.

The loans are repayable at 6% APR unless you’ve been bankrupt, in which case it’s 15%.

Allison says that makes the charity almost unique in the UK, lending money to discharged bankrupts and people with poor credit ratings.

She says they balance the risks with not judging or writing people off based on past mistakes.

The organisation is supported by the European Union Social Fund, philanthropists, business donations and the Cornwall Community Foundation.

And they aim to replenish their funding pot when loans are repaid.

Allison wants islanders seeking finance to contact her so she to meet them in Scilly and guide them through the process.

Applicants need cash flow forecasts and a business plan but unlike most banks, the loans are offered unsecured.

And she says the Foundation is keen not just to create new businesses but also to help owners grow in confidence and skills.

Allison wants to recruit a group of around four islanders with business or banking experience to help decide on loan applications. She says working on the islands is a “pretty unique experience” and feels existing business people are best placed to understand the challenges of operating here.

She’s looking for people with business acumen, who are engaged with the community and have a variety of skills.

For more information, you can call Allison on 07809  302062.

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