Yorkshire social enterprise adds £31m to regional economy

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) says they have boosted the region’s economy by £31m over the last 12 months.

The Yorkshire-based social enterprise made the announcement as part of its annual social impact report which also reveals the not-for-profit organisation has loaned a total of £7.08m in the last year, helping to create 175 new UK businesses.

The group specialises in ‘responsible and flexible’ finance to businesses making an impact in their communities and 36% of BEF’s loans in the last 12 months were to female-led businesses across West and North Yorkshire and the North East.

BEF has made 331 client deals in the last 12 months with the highest number of loans being made to businesses in the manufacturing (25%), business services (18%) and retail (17%) sectors.

Steve Waud, chief executive at BEF which is celebrating its 15th anniversary later this year, said: ‘At BEF we remain dedicated in our role to supporting under-represented yet tenacious SMEs across the North, who don’t necessarily have the same level of investment available to their counterparts in the South.

‘We are proud that 36% of our loans in the year have been to female entrepreneurs which is higher than the industry average and we’re continuing to promote the support available to help tackle the evident funding gap, which has also recently been highlighted in the Alison Rose Review.

‘The economic impact our lending continues to generate is something we are hugely proud of at BEF.’

Last month, Nicola Steuer, managing director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs wrote for NewStart about how she believes social enterprise can play a key role in reshaping ailing high streets, stepping into spaces where private businesses are no longer viable.

Read the piece here.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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