Tag: Business Finance

UK Accolade for Business Enterprise Fund from International Foundation

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which provides finance and support for new and existing businesses in Yorkshire and the North East, has been given the UK top accolade for its economic and social impact from an international foundation.

Its work has been recognised for making an “enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves,” and for its demonstrable performance towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Part of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, BEF supports SMEs and social enterprises and lent £8.8m to 399 clients in 2018, helping launch 179 new businesses, creating or safeguarding 985 UK jobs. This was delivered alongside 4,000 hours of tailored business support and brought £39m of economic benefit to the regional economy.

BEF’s focus on measuring, demonstrating and improving its impact, including showing how its performance contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, impressed the judges in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation. BEF was named the winner of the “Impact Award” at a national ceremony this week.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation, are the annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed “responsible” business finance – and the providers, like BEF, which work with them.

Responsible Finance providers are a crucial part of the UK’s financial sector and the leading financial institutions offering affordable finance to many small and micro enterprises, and social enterprises.

Stephen Waud, Chief Executive of BEF, said:

“I’m thrilled that BEF’s work supporting businesses and social enterprises in the North of England, particularly in disadvantaged areas within North and West Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East has been recognised.

“Measuring and reporting on our impact has been a key area of focus in the last 12 months and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) align naturally with our ethos as a responsible lender with a social purpose.

“We have set out clear and measurable targets for supporting and increasing our contribution to the UNSDGs and will report annually on progress. Reporting and demonstrating our impact has also enabled BEF to develop relationships and new funding streams, helping to enhance our credentials in the social investment arena. This prestigious accolade is a testament to the work of our team – we’re absolutely delighted.”

Responsible finance providers across the UK, including BEF, lent £85 million to over 5,000 businesses in 2018, and 84% of business customers supported by responsible finance providers were previously turned down by a bank.

Launched in 2005, (and in 2013 in the UK), the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards were established by the Citi Foundation to recognise best-in-class microentrepreneurs and celebrate the responsible finance sector and their contribution to national economies.

The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting and celebrating the responsible finance sector, as well as youth entrepreneurs through its Pathways to Progress initiative that is tackling youth unemployment globally.

“The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are a celebration of the enterprises and local businesses which are the backbone of our communities. They also recognise the important role responsible finance providers play in supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which enables many microenterprises to grow and scale their businesses,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development.

“This year’s Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Business Enterprise Fund makes an enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves.”

BEF’s accolade is one of just 8 national awards, with recognition given to 4 businesses supported by responsible finance providers, and to 4 providers. One of the microenterprises receiving an award, Spark:York, is also a BEF client: this hub of affordable space for retailers and food businesses in York, created from upcycled shipping containers, was launched thanks to a £190k loan and business mentoring support from the Business Enterprise Fund. It has attracted 500,000 visitors in its first 10 months – and has a £1.8m turnover – and its founders Tom McKenzie and Sam Leach were named the UK’s “young entrepreneurs of the year” in the same awards.

 

Photo: L to R Awards compere, radio presenter Leanne Campbell, Stephen Waud (BEF), Lee Vickers (BEF), Simon Jackson (BEF), Nicolas Kendall (BEF), Amal Gomersall (Citi), Jennifer Tankard (Responsible Finance)

PwC and Sky Betting & Gaming develop taste for Lean Lunch

Lean Lunch

An innovative healthy lunch delivery service launched earlier this year in Leeds is already showing it’s appetite for growth after successful trials with two of the city’s biggest employers.

Founded in May 2017, Lean Lunch is a health conscious start-up supplying a subsidised catering service to companies who value health and wellbeing for their staff, encouraging access to a healthy lunch. Orders are made for pre-order and free delivery for companies in Leeds. The chilled meals are then delivered by environmentally friendly cycles ready to eat in fully compostable packaging, with the objective for Lean Lunch to be a zero waste food company.

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The Kitchen!

The team worked with experienced chef Matthew Benson-Smith, who trained in Paris with a Michelin-starred chef and nutritionist Elizabeth Cooper to develop incredibly tasty yet super healthy meals using high quality fresh produce with no refined ingredients.

Founder and MD Sat Mann is passionate about the effects of nutrition on mental and physical health and wellbeing and after exiting from a successful recruitment company wanted to create a solution to the problem of city centre eating, crowded queues at peak times and that habit of grabbing anything to eat – unhealthy, unsustainable, not environmentally friendly and impacting on productivity.

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The Team

Like most businesses, this start up began trials and testing at home, but after successfully securing grant funding of £11,200 towards project costs from the European Regional Development funded AD:VENTURE programme they have recently moved into a new custom kitted kitchen in the Cardigan Workspace. The move has already resulted in 4 full time jobs, with more to come. The AD:VENTURE scheme offers mentoring and growth support, including access to finance for companies showing high growth potential in the Leeds City Region and is looking for more companies to work with who want to boost their growth.

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Sat says “It’s been an amazing experience to launch the first online healthy food delivery service in Leeds. Our ambition is to change the way people eat at work with a conviction of the positive impact this will have for both employers and employees. The early adoption of our service by PwC and SKYBET has been fantastic, it validates how forward thinking employers view the positive impact of nutrition on wellness. We are very grateful for the grant support from Adventure which has crucially supported the capital costs of launching the business”

Sat’s enthusiasm and passion was evident when two of Leeds City centre’s largest employers accepted the opportunity to trial the healthy delivery service, nutritional seminars and workshops that Lean Lunch were offering, showing their ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of their employee’s.

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Catherine Boddington, Head of Learning & Development at Sky Betting and Gaming commented “It’s really important to us to look after the wellbeing of our people at SBG. Part of this is making it easy for people to eat delicious and nutritionally balanced food whilst they are at work… That’s what Lean Lunch offer. They deliver freshly prepared, healthy meals to our office every day, making healthy and tasty food accessible”

Richard Giles, Partner and Health and Wellbeing Leader for PwC in Leeds is a big supporter.  He commented “At PwC we believe it is important to look after the health and wellbeing of our team. Making it easy for our people to be physically active, eat well and take care of their mental wellbeing is the right thing to do from a moral and business point of view – Lean Lunch fits right into that. Delicious and nutritious food delivered to the office is a great option for us to make available to our teams. We are also now looking to introduce Lean Lunch to client events too.”

 

Find out more about growth support from the AD:VENTURE programme, or find out more about Lean Lunch.