GM LEP approves £3m funding to GCBF to battle impact of coronavirus on SME's
The Greater Manchester LEP, working with the Growth Company, has unlocked an initial £3m package of urgently needed financial support for Greater Manchester businesses battling the impact of coronavirus.
And private sector investors were today urged to further boost the funding support available to struggling businesses in the region, working alongside the public sector to protect jobs.
Administered by GC Business Finance (GCBF), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for Greater Manchester is now ready to provide loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 to qualifying companies. It will be delivered by GCBF alongside the Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
The funding will bring vital additional capacity to existing Government schemes, meaning that more business in Greater Manchester will have access to the funding they need to meet the challenge of the Coronavirus outbreak. This Greater Manchester approach will help support SMEs that may struggle to secure finance support from their banks survive and grow.
The £3m funding was given emergency approval by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), broadening funding eligibility and capacity to save jobs and businesses.
The funding provides immediate capital to meet the needs of Greater Manchester businesses who meet the GM CBILS lending criteria.
Investing alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and the Start Up Loans Programme, this Greater Manchester funding builds on the loan funding available locally and is available immediately to respond to the acute challenges some SMEs in the city-region are currently facing.
It is a decisive response by Greater Manchester in immediately bolstering existing publicly backed funding already available and adding critical capacity to GCBF in helping more SMEs survive this crisis and protect jobs.
The Growth Company will work with potential private sector co-investment partners to enable vital funding to be made available to even more businesses.
The GMCA and LEP funding is part of a concerted effort across Greater Manchester to support businesses and jobs – including the #HereForBusiness and Employ GM campaigns - and will help to maximise the availability of CBILS funding to Greater Manchester businesses.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for Greater Manchester will provide vital immediate cashflow to businesses alongside the business grant funding that is already being administered by Local Authorities across Greater Manchester.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “This is a fantastic example of Greater Manchester doing the right thing.
“By acting quickly to unlock vital loan support at a very difficult time, we are playing our part in minimising the economic impact of the coronavirus in our city-region.
“We will do everything we can to protect local businesses and safeguard jobs in our vital SME sector. But I also want to put the call out to all potential co-investors from the private sector - come and help us support even more businesses through this fund.
“Only by working together can we safeguard employment and ensure that Greater Manchester is in the best possible shape for recovery.”
Lou Cordwell and Mo Isap, Co-Chairs of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These are unprecedented and very worrying times for businesses. Our Board is continuing to listen to business here in our city-region and we are doing all we can to safeguard jobs and minimise economic damage.
“It is clear that cashflow continues to be the most important issue for businesses and that is why we have immediately made £3m available for distribution by GC Business Finance as part of the new Greater Manchester Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (GM CBILS).
“However, we cannot do this alone. We need our brilliant private sector to step forward as co-investors and help us to scale up this fund so we can protect even more jobs and businesses.”
Mark Hughes, Chief Executive of the Growth Company, said: “Businesses tell us that they require urgent access to financial support if they are to remain afloat.
“While this funding will be crucial to that effort, this is also about continuing to support business growth, which we know will be so critical for the economy as we come through the immediate Covid-19 crisis.
“Working with our partners at GMCA and with the support of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, I’m pleased that we are now able to provide a lifeline to the many companies, who are doing their utmost to protect jobs and look to the future.
“I would urge any private sector investors who are able to support this initiative through co-investment to get in touch with the Growth Company.
“Our philosophy in response to the challenges presented by the coronavirus has been that we are ‘Here for Business’ and colleagues at GC Business Finance are now able to demonstrate that with vital practical support.”
One of the first GM businesses to benefit from a GC Business Finance administered CBILS loan is Consensus Workspace – one of the UK’s fastest growing interior office fit out specialists.
Commenting on the CBILS loan, Managing Director of Consensus, Andrew Plastow said: “We approached the Growth Company having struggled to confirm short term funding with our own business bank. I was amazed at the speed of the response, communication and decision making, which came within 12 hours of us returning all the information required.
“GC Business Finance have really delivered on the promises from the Government to help us as a successful but disrupted small business in Greater Manchester.
“The loan is critical to protecting our future growth and ensuring we will be able to immediately mobilise as soon as restrictions are lifted.”