The British Business Bank has announced a new £70m fund to support small businesses in Northern Ireland. Called the Investment Fund for Northern Ireland, it has been set up to help support innovative business ideas and create local opportunities for new and scaling businesses who have had problems getting funding to back them in previous years.
Funding Could Prove A Real Lifeline
This funding could prove to be a real lifeline for so many businesses. Business owner Sarah-Jayne Murray received a start-up loan and is quoted in an article on the BBC News website as saying:
“It allowed me to get more stock to sell to my customers,” she said.
“My finances were all over the place, and I had quite a small fund so it was like pushing limits to try and get the stock to get things going.
“It was a really big struggle. I have to pay for the full order before I can get it delivered to my door.
“With customs and VAT, you were hit with a large sum for that coming into the country. It was a lot of money to pay out before I had a product to sell to my customer.”
Helpful With Their Payment Plans
And in the same article Ms Murray, who runs sustainable active wear company Vocus Vit and received a £10,000 start-up loan from the British Business Bank, said:
“You have to pay it back but they’re quite helpful with their payment plans,
“I had to wait about three months before the stock arrived and they helped me with the first three months before I got the ball rolling.”
And finally Louis Taylor, chief executive of the British Business Bank, explained why this funding was so important to the company, saying:
“We know Northern Ireland is home to some excellent business owners who have innovative and brilliant ideas. But we also know that accessing finance for some of these people can be a struggle and that this part of the UK has experienced a funding gap.
“Getting outside Belfast and into more rural areas so there is a levelling up of finance opportunities is something which is very important to the British Business Bank.”
It is good to see companies such as the British Business Bank taking active roles in supporting small businesses in Northern Ireland and it is particularly encouraging to see them coming to the aid of businesses off the beaten track in small towns and rural areas across the country.