A major scheme launched by Warwickshire County Council to give a helping hand to start-up, micro, small and medium businesses has distributed nearly £2.5 million of funding in less than two years.

The Local Communities & Enterprise Fund (LCE) was started in June 2022 to provide loans to businesses who were struggling to access lending by the usual High Street banking routes.

It has now distributed over £2,484,368 in loans between 44 start-up, micro, small and medium businesses as well as social enterprises.

The funding is forecast to create 210 jobs in a variety of sectors, including retail, digital creative and digital technologies, culture, tourism and hospitality, advanced manufacturing and engineering, and low carbon technologies.

This has also safeguarded 258 jobs and a further eight jobs have already been created.

The LCE Fund, which is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), as part of the County Council’s £64 million Warwickshire Investment Fund (WIF), to boost the county’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Cllr Martin Watson, the portfolio holder for economy at Warwickshire County Council, said distributing nearly £2.5 million in loans emphasised the need for the funding scheme.

He said: “The LCE demonstrates our commitment to supporting micro, small and medium businesses and social enterprises, particularly those who needed an extra helping hand following the pandemic.

“To have allocated nearly £2.5 million to businesses throughout the county will make a vital difference to the owners and employees as well as boost our economy.

“To create and safeguard jobs not only benefits families but the communities in which they live and work.

“These businesses will, in turn, grow and the LCE is a great example of the support and help we are proud to deliver in Warwickshire.”

Sheridan Sulskis, CEO at CWRT, said the LCE has removed barriers which some businesses had faced in accessing finance.

“It is not always easy to know where to turn when your investment plans are turned down by mainstream lenders,” she said.

“But the LCE has proved instrumental in negotiating that hurdle to enable those with sound plans to access affordable finance to start-up or to grow their business.

“The LCE has been willing and able to provide loans when mainstream lenders were hesitant because of the importance of supporting the economic recovery and future growth of Warwickshire.

“We’ve had the privilege of managing this fund for WCC and seen how it has helped a wide breadth of businesses in all corners of the county. We are looking forward to supporting even more businesses over the next few years.”

CWRT supports businesses that may have not accessed finance for their business before or maybe facing barriers in receiving support. To find out more about funding options, contact CWRT at www.cwrt.uk.com.

Caption: Sheridan Sulskis from CWRT with Cllr Martin Watson of Warwickshire County Council