In response to gaps in Bounce Back loan availability for some Greater Manchester-based SMEs following the second national lockdown, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in partnership with GC Business Finance has stepped in pledging £10m emergency funding specifically geared to support businesses based in Greater Manchester unable to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
The Fund targets eligible SMEs if their own bank is not an existing provider of the scheme, providing Bounce Back loans of up to £50k packaged with integrated business support in a local approach unique across the UK. GCBF anticipate high demand supporting applicants on a first come first served basis and expect the fund to be fully committed relatively quickly, at which point the fund will close.
The limited £10m fund will be delivered by GC Business Finance (GCBF), part of the Growth Company, the UK’s only non-profit Government-backed loans provider accredited by the British Business Bank under the Bounce Back Loans Scheme. GCBF delivery will be through cutting-edge digital technology, offering top class customer service, quick decisions and integrated businesses support as part of the wider Growth Company offer.
This represents the first time that a UK Combined Authority has directly offered funding to support the distribution of Bounce Back Loans. GC Business Finance will be looking to support those business not already banking with existing Bounce Back Loan providers, and applications from Greater Manchester businesses are welcomed from Monday 16thth November through an online application with applications closing once the fund is fully committed.
Specialist social impact lender GCBF are committed to providing smart, fast, fair finance and will work with the business and their existing bank, as well as offering a package of integrated business support alongside the bounce back loan to ensure the businesses best chance of success. The funding provided to GC Business Finance will be available immediately and will be accessible to small and medium sized Greater Manchester businesses, with loans ranging from £2,000 to £50,000.
The funding pledged by GMCA follows recognition of the gap emerging in the market for those local businesses who are dependent on a Bounce Back Loan to continue to survive and grow despite the pandemic. GMCA’s vision to create a thriving economy in all parts of Greater Manchester and generate jobs with opportunities to grow and develop is dependent on local business infrastructure to make this vision a reality, a driving force behind their sense of responsibility and decision to make this pledge.
The approach by Greater Manchester allows for businesses to seek a more personalised and localised approach to funding through GC Business Finance, as well as access to a vast support network through the wider Growth Company, in turn helping Greater Manchester businesses to bounce back with confidence through an uncomplicated, digitally driven and quick solution to unlocking finance.
The loans, which are 100 per cent guaranteed by the UK Government but funded by GMCA, are estimated to be eligible for approximately 98 per cent of Greater Manchester SMEs. As with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), no interest will be due on Bounce Back Loans for the first 12 months, with an interest rate set at 2.5 per cent per year after the first year.
As part of The Growth Company, GC Business Finance will work alongside GC Business Growth Hub and other sister businesses to provide a tailored combination of financial and business support to SMEs across Greater Manchester, depending on the services required.
“Innovation and resilience have been cornerstones of Manchester’s history – an approach that is needed now more than ever. We have a duty to protect and support our SMEs through this crisis, which means easy access to vital funds. The partnership between GMCA and GC Business Finance has historically proven to be beneficial for the Greater Manchester business community and more recently is a massive step in the right direction, taking control back into the hands of local businesses and ensuring a bespoke approach to lending that improves efficiency and helps to ensure survival.Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
“While it is a good first step, it is only that. To enable us to build back better, we need to make this style of funding available to all businesses across the UK, taking the burden off traditional banks and placing greater emphasis on diversity of funding.”
“It’s been an incredibly challenging year for Greater Manchester’s SMEs, with a second lockdown bringing further difficulty. While the ongoing emergency business loan schemes have provided a vital lifeline to many, we know there is more work to be done to help those businesses that fall between the cracks.
“The GMCA has partnered with GC Business Finance to support the city-region’s SMEs throughout the pandemic and working with a local partner to deliver this new fund brings numerous benefits. Businesses applying can expect a digital application process which is easy to navigate, a quick decision and wraparound business support to maximise the effectiveness of the loan.
“Once applications are open, we’d urge any eligible local business to contact GC Business Finance to discuss the support on offer.”Cllr Elise Wilson, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy and Business
“This approach is an unprecedented step by Greater Manchester to support local businesses at a time of need. As we have seen with CBILS, banks have struggled to cope with the volume and variety of applications coming in from across the country.
“We pride ourselves at being at the heart of the business community, supporting economic growth and resilience, and are therefore are ideally placed to deliver a solution that works for local businesses. GCBF’s tailored approach to lending, combined with the close connections of the Growth Company, means that we can provide a wider package of support to suit the needs of each individual Greater Manchester business.
“Once rolled out, this innovative approach could have a revolutionary impact on the way the UK distributes this funding, and puts us, Greater Manchester in the best possible position to recover once the crisis is over.”Mark Hughes, Chief Executive, The Growth Company