BSSEC member ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust) — one of the longest-established community finance providers in the UK — is starting the new year with over £2m to lend to businesses in Birmingham and Solihull that cannot get finance from conventional sources. This includes lending to social enterprises.
We’re in a position to lend twice as much in the coming year as we did last year thanks to new support from Birmingham City Council and Be Birmingham — together with continued funding and support from a host of other private and public investors.
ART is an independent mutual organisation — like an old-fashioned building society — which lends between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Birmingham and Solihull unable to secure any, or all, of the finance they need from a bank. We’ve seen a massive jump in its lending as banks have taken a risk-averse attitude to small enterprises.
ART loans can be used alone or as part of a package of finance and can be unsecured or secured, with repayment periods of up to five years. They can be used for any business purpose, including supporting cashflow.
The Trust is a member of the Fair Finance Consortium, a group of independent lenders who — with the support of AWM and in some cases their local councils and other private sector investors — collectively ensure that small businesses and social enterprises across the West Midlands can access loan support of up to £50,000.