Reject rejection with responsible finance
How finance providers are investing in businesses not supported by traditional lenders
Frustration, anxiety and demotivation are three of the emotions felt most strongly by business owners that have been rejected for loans or other forms of finance.
Businesses commonly get rejected for bank loans if they have no trading history. But if you’ve struggled to get hold of business finance, or had a funding application rejected, then there may be a number of funding options still available for your business.
And you’re certainly not alone.
Businesses and social enterprises with a viable, well thought-through business plan, could be eligible for a loan from one of the ethical lenders recognised by the Responsible Finance association.
Who are Responsible Finance?
Responsible Finance is an organisation that brings together a network of providers of ‘fair finance’. For these so called “responsible finance lenders”, the idea of bringing social and economic benefits to people, places, and businesses is at the heart of what they do – they are not driven by profit.
Responsible Finance vets finance providers that wish to be included in their network, who must adhere to criteria such as:
• helping customers to access funding if they have had funding applications rejected by mainstream lenders
• committing to community or economic development in disadvantaged communities
• demonstrating responsible lending and business practices – including having a plan for long-term sustainability
“Responsible finance providers are recognised as trusted and transparent lenders offering considerable value for money in supporting businesses, social enterprises and individuals,” explains Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance.
“They treat customers fairly, only lend to those who can afford to repay, are transparent about the costs of borrowing, and provide supportive services that help customers increase financial inclusion.”
How businesses benefit from Responsible Finance
From Scottish smokeries to toy manufacturers, cafes and coffee shops, more and more businesses are turning to responsible finance providers for funding.
With more than 4,000 new businesses started, and over 8,000 jobs safeguarded in 2016-17, it’s clear to see why responsible and ethical forms of business finance are becoming more popular every year amongst UK businesses.
There are more than forty approved providers of responsible finance throughout the UK committed to providing fair and ethical loans to small businesses and social enterprises – as well as finance for individuals.
With sustainable economic and social growth at their heart, many responsible lenders also offer support, advice, mentoring and skills development to complement the financial backing.
In a number of examples, such as the story of Harry Specters chocolatiers, a responsible finance loan is just the beginning. In this instance, a loan was needed to build a robust, long- term strategy for the social enterprise. That plan was subsequently used to pitch to investors with a corporate social responsibility agenda, and to secure a substantial investment in the next stage of business growth.
Whether you’re in the start-up phase, or ready to expand, find out more about responsible finance providers in the UK.
In 2017, Responsible Finance’s approved lenders provided:
• £235 million to over 61,000 customers
• £67 million to over 5,000 SMEs, creating 4,270 new businesses and securing over
• £142 million to 363 social enterprises, securing over 4,000 jobs
Responsible Finance loan leads to a further £260,000 investment
Harry Specters is a multi-award-winning chocolate business based in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
The social enterprise was established in November 2012 by Mona Shah, and produces a range of bespoke and handmade, deluxe chocolates. The business is committed to its mission of offering training and employment opportunities to young people with autism.
A loan from the responsible finance provider, Foundation East, helped Harry Specters to develop a robust business plan, which lead to the business unlocking investment support totalling £260,000 from funders such as PwC, SSE, UnLtd and ClearlySo to develop its growth plan.
The company has now grown to employ 4 full-time and 5 part-time employees – 6 of whom are on the autistic spectrum – and aims to double revenues in the next 2 years to create more employment opportunities for people with autism.
Join the thousands of small businesses, micro enterprises, and social enterprises benefitting from responsible funding throughout the UK. To search responsible finance providers in the UK visit www.findingfinance.org.uk.