A not for profit finance firm with only 21 staff in the North is supporting small businesses across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) has just announced a new wave of funding, having already delivered over three per cent of the loans issued since lockdown.

BEF is one of the organisations accredited with the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.

A small, not for profit institution that provides finance to help community development, business growth and job creation, BEF is now working hard to help with business and job survival, delivering the first CBISL UK loan just four days after the scheme was launched.

The firm has also announced that it is one of just four CDFIs who will have access to another £29m fund to support smaller, emergency loans on a no fee, no interest for 12 months basis, to small businesses and social enterprises in more deprived areas.

The Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is aimed to help businesses find the money they needed to get over the crisis.

The implementation of CBILS came shortly after the lockdown and BEF delivered its first CBILS loan to a company called HTES in Middlesbrough before providing CBILS loans to more existing clients as well as new clients who applied direct.

Steve Waud, CEO of BEF, said: “Once the lockdown happened, our staff were mobilised to talk to every one of our 1,000 clients to see how we could assist them through this time.

“We discussed their circumstances and came up with a plan to get them through the next three months. For some it involved more money, others a payment break and others could afford to pay a little.

“I was staggered that such a small organisation such as ourselves could have provided that many of the loans. We have been helping clients all over the UK and have committed to helping as many SMEs as we can with the resources and capital that we have, but ultimately we will not be able to satisfy all the demand there is and the banks are going to have to step up to the plate at some point.

“We are in early discussions about sourcing further capital for SMEs – at present we are using as much of the capital that we have available from our impact investors to meet the need, but we think this will all be used up in the next three months.

“If you are a business who needs some money to get through initially the next three months, then please contact us and we will do what we can for you.”

BEF an accredited partner with the British Business Bank, a subsidiary of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and a partner with Unity Trust Bank and Big Society Capital for the funds they are using to support UK SMEs.