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Access to finance

Access to Finance Logo

You can access free and impartial advice to maximize your chance of success by raising funds or looking for alternative sources of capital.

Who is the service for?

Our Access to Finance (A2F) service is aimed at SMEs across the North West*, whether they are seeking finance for the first time, have been declined by a lender and/or are looking for additional sources of funding.

We support businesses that need advice to maximise their success in raising finance, and those that are investigating alternative sources of capital.

* Restrictions apply. Some business sectors and regions are not included. Please contact the Business Growth Hub for further details.

About the service

The A2F team offers free and impartial advice, either on a one-to-one basis or through our regular Finance and Investment Ready Workshops. Areas covered by the service include:

  • Assessing a business’s financial position and funding requirements

  • Help developing business plans, financial forecasts and other supporting information

  • Help understanding the finance raising process and issues such as debt and equity finance

  • Support with identifying the most appropriate finance products

  • Coaching and mentoring to develop an investment proposition

  • Support at meetings with lenders and investors

  • Introductions to suitable finance providers including NW Business Angels

Meet the team

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Philip Hargreaves

Access to Finance Manager

Philip has worked in commercial and corporate banking for the past 35 years. He is now responsible for the Hub’s Access to Finance Team, together with the North West Business Angels and the Grants Advisory Service. Working closely with partners in the business and professional communities, Philip and his team are passionate about supporting local SMEs who are looking to grow.

“Fundraising in the current marketplace is often complex, requiring time and specialist understanding of all the available options. Putting the right finance in place, at the right time, can mean the difference between success and failure.”

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Ian Dixon

Access to Finance Team Leader

Ian is responsible for the management and development of the Hub’s team of A2F specialists. He is a chartered accountant with extensive corporate funding experience and knowledge, developed predominantly within the SME market. Former commercial roles have included financial director, process improvement director and business development director, and he has acquired an in depth knowledge of various forms of finance, including all types of debt and equity, and the processes involved in raising funds.

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Jonathan Nelson

Access to Finance Specialist

Jonathan’s expertise and experience stems from over 25 years working in finance and commercial banking, with the last five years spent running his own business. He is responsible for working with SMEs in Lancashire, providing quality, in-depth financial diagnosis, information and coaching to help them prepare for, raise and source the finance they need to grow.

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Emily Harrison

Access to Finance Compliance Specialist

As the team’s compliance specialist, Emily is responsible for visiting clients and collating evidence to measure and report on the impact of the Access to Finance service. She also manages the Access to Finance social media accounts and works with the marketing team to promote the team’s work.

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Mark Renshaw

Access to Finance Specialist

Mark has over 30 years’ experience in the financial sector working for a leading high street bank. He can draw on experiences gained from a long career serving the financial needs of commercial enterprises, both in relationship and head office lending roles. 

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Dave Saddington

Access to Finance Specialist

Dave spent 35 years in banking, including 15 years in business and commercial banking up to area manager level. He uses his experience of working with over four banks and as a banking consultant to give ambitious business owners the best independent financial advice.

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Maria Ramsdale

Access to Finance Specialist

An experienced finance professional, Maria has worked with a wide range of SMEs across many sectors over the last 22 years. She is responsible for the delivery of the Lancashire A2F Investment Readiness Workshop programme. Over the last three years she has engaged with over 350 businesses, helping over half to raise finance, access funding and grow their businesses.

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Geoff Clowes

Access to Finance Specialist

Geoff is an A.C.I.B. & IFS Diploma in Credit qualified commercial lender, with over 34 years’ experience working for a leading high street bank. This included 20 years as a senior branch manager and six years spent within specialised relationship management, assisting clients with lending and providing logistical solutions to help their businesses grow. 

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Alan Bambroffe

Access to Finance Specialist

Alan has spent over 40 years working within the banking and asset finance environment, identifying tailored solutions for a range of customers, assisting their growth aspirations and increasing employment opportunities.

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John Moore

Access to Finance Specialist

A qualified financial and business advisor, John has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses raise finance for growth, as well as providing guidance and help across a range of business disciplines. 

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Columb O’Shea

Access to Finance Specialist

Columb is a former business relationship bank manager with over 25 years’ experience supporting SMEs in Greater Manchester. He has strong financial skills and experience of assessing strengths and weaknesses in trading performance and capital foundation, as well as a detailed knowledge of the lending criteria used by many institutions. He also has wider business experience in marketing and human resources.

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Martin Clark

Access to Finance Specialist

As an ACIB qualified banking professional, Martin has over 26 years’ experience in the sector. He also has specialist knowledge of the IT sector, having worked for an early stage software development company for five years, and has experience of owner managing two successful retail franchises.

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Prakash Patel

Access to Finance Specialist

A finance and funding expert with a background in commercial banking, Prakash’s key skills and experience include; building complete funding packages, development and assessment of business plans, analysis of financial information, preparation and analysis of financial forecasts and negotiation meetings with funding organisations.

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Stephen Wall

Access to Finance Specialist

Stephen is a commercial and corporate banking specialist who spent 36 years with a high street bank, where he covered all levels of business, including personal and corporate disciplines, and working with businesses with turnovers of up to £50 million. Steve has also worked as a senior internal auditor and currently manages the North West Business Angels Investor Club.

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Nathan Leah

Access to Finance Team Support Co-ordinator

Nathan is responsible for the day-to-day support of the A2F team managing enquiries and referrals, verifying business support documentation, and completing various monthly reports.

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Sarah Brennan

Access to Finance Specialist

After spending 25 years in the banking industry, Sarah has spent the last seven years using her extensive experience and knowledge in sourcing funding solutions to assist businesses that have identified a need to raise finance. Successful projects have involved many different types of finance including traditional debt, public sector loans, peer to peer lending and equity/Business Angel funding.

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Case Study

Remexx

Access to Finance

Blackburn-based Remexx was founded in April 2014 after the closure of the town’s Remploy factory. It was set up by two former employees David Sussex and Peter Clark, with the same Remploy values of employing people with complex barriers to work.

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Case Study

Molplex

Access to Finance

Molplex Pharmaceuticals was established by David Leahy and Vladimir Sykora in 2011 on the back of considerable experience in the biotech industry. The business specialises in identifying and developing new treatments for infections, cancer and other serious diseases, with an emphasis on radically lowering the cost of inventing new medicines.

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Case Study

The Wellbeing Farm

Access to Finance

Once crumbling and neglected, an old farm on a hillside near Bolton had been transformed into an award-winning venue with help from the Access to Finance team.

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How to access the service

If you would like to find out more about our Access to Finance service please contact:

Email:info@businessgrowthhub.com

Tel:0161 359 3050

Business Growth Hub

Churchgate House
56 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6EU

Contact

Tel: 0161 359 3050
Email: info@businessgrowthhub.com

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