A Yorkshire-based social enterprise, which has created more than 1,000 jobs in the region, is celebrating 10 years of lending by expanding into the North East.
The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which already has bases in Bradford, Leeds and York, is opening its fourth office in Stockton-on-Tees in a bid to support businesses across the North East.
Since 2004, BEF has supported more than 2,000 businesses in West and North Yorkshire which have been unable to raise finance from mainstream lenders and high street banks.
In 10 years, BEF has lent a total of £12m to companies, half of that in the last three years.
Brighouse-based fund director Stephen Waud said: “Alternative finance is fast becoming a mainstream option for businesses and as demand continues to soar, providers such as BEF are becoming a first choice for new and existing business owners.
“This demand for our services has seen us loan £4m across West and North Yorkshire in the last 12 months.
“Our York team has thrived on supporting businesses across North Yorkshire in the six months since the office opened. We’ve every expectation that Stockton-on-Tees, which is our fourth office, will continue the success of what is clearly a much needed financial service that is fuelling the regional economy, creating jobs and breathing new life and longevity into businesses.”
BEF, which has a team of nine investment managers across its four offices, has strong relationships with clients with many returning for top-up loans in order to develop their businesses further.
“Our expansion into the North East is further testament that we are providing a crucial lifeline for businesses in need of financial help and we’re looking forward to supporting even more companies over the next decade,” said Mr Waud.