With 2018 on the horizon, this is the perfect time to recap on a few of the highlights of 2017 and recognise some of the things our team have helped to achieve with our clients.
We are finishing 2017 with a quarter of a billion in lending across the UK in our sights. We have protected and created 25,000 jobs and are seeing growth for more SMEs across a wider geographical area.
We are improving our product and encouraging ambition
We are committed to increasing opportunities for our clients and in this calendar year alone, have disbursed £51million to 5,000 businesses, which is a massive 76% of all Responsible Finance business funding, making us the largest Responsible Finance provider in the UK. We designed and successfully delivered the GM Export Fund, with £3.5 million worth of loans disbursed in the year, this exceeded lending targets by nearly a third.
2017 saw new government contracts being granted. BFS was approved to manage the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund by the British Business Bank and have broadened our geographical footprint, with UK national contracts now commonplace at BFS, a vision we aim to build on in 2018. Loans have been disbursed as far North as John O’Groats, and as far South as Penzance.
How are we influencing and driving positive change nationally?
The team has been spreading the BFS message in many different ways this year. From appearing on a BBC documentary to climbing Snowdon; we have been well and truly living our values. We pride ourselves on being an ethical company and our staff reflect this in everything they do. Our very own Loan Manager, Alex Mearns featured on a BBC programme which focused on the impact that lenders such as BFS have on entrepreneurs and how we improve lives on a daily basis. This showcased how we offer guidance and support and strive to nurture businesses to grow and evolve.
The team reached dizzying heights in aid of charity. Members of the team completed a gruelling trek up Snowdon, North Wales to raise money for The Haemophilia Society and The Christie. This, alongside other charitable activities has seen us raise nearly £5,000 so far this year.
One of our business advisors, Xiao Liu, was awarded Business Advisor of the Year at the National Start-Up Loan Annual Awards in London. This national award recognizes individuals who have delivered outstanding pre-application support and guidance to first-time business owners. Xiao along with the rest of the team, always go above and beyond to ensure our clients are receiving the best possible service, something we are extremely proud of as an organisation.
Looking ahead to 2018!
Going forward BFS aims to be a ‘National Organisation’ and being part of a larger group, The Growth Company, we can offer a smorgasbord of services for businesses of all shapes and sizes. So whether you are looking for a mentor, want to expand into digital, kick-start your company’s overseas trading or develop your organisation in pretty much any way - we can help. Working together with local and national groups, broadening our reach and honing our already successful service offer, will only make us stronger together.
I would like to thank all of our clients, old and new, for a great year and from myself and all the team here at BFS, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to new ventures in 2018, whether that be business loans, helping with apprenticeships or exporting overseas.Back