ART Business Loans

Art Business Loans

Businesses in the West Midlands that struggle to access finance from high street lenders are set to benefit from a £4m funding package. This is thanks to a unique partnership between three socially-minded organisations.

Block Inc (NYSE: SQ), a global technology company with a focus on financial services, is making its first social impact investment in the UK. They are providing £2m capital to ART Business Loans (ART), which is being matched by well-established ethical lender Unity Trust Bank.

ART, a Birmingham-based Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), was founded in 1997 to help alleviate poverty through enterprise. ART lends between £10,000 and £150,000 to businesses in underserved and disadvantaged communities which are unable to obtain their full requirements from traditional Banks.

Dr Steve Walker, Chief Executive at ART said: “This deal is a real game-changer for us. It is a great vote of confidence from such well-established institutions as Block and Unity Trust Bank. With the backing and support of these two allies, ART has never been in a stronger position to write the next chapter of our 25-year history. This £4 million agreement puts ART on a firm financial footing at a time of considerable economic uncertainty. This social impact investment enables us to continue to provide key financial support to SMEs across the West Midlands, many of whom are currently facing considerable financial headwinds.”

Block is made up of ecosystems, including Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL, and TBD, with a united purpose of expanding economic access for everyone. Today’s investment comes from its $100m social impact investment fund. The fund was established in 2020 to support minority and underserved communities, allocating $10 million for social impact investments in markets outside the US and is their first UK social impact investment.

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