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Launch of Cheltenham ‘fund’ for local businesses


FOLK2FOLK, the local lending specialist, has celebrated its move to Cheltenham and the launch of a fund for local businesses at a drinks reception last month attended by the Mayor, Councillors, local businesses including solicitors, accountants, mortgage brokers and local FOLK2FOLK investors.

FOLK2FOLK provides access to finance for credit-worthy micro and SME businesses who are looking to grow, develop or diversify but who have been unable to access finance from high street banks. The finance it provides is from individual, business or institutional investors who are looking for an inflation-beating return on their capital. With its unique local lending model FOLK2FOLK aims to match local investors with local businesses and keep local money local.

Cheltenham Borough Council is the first local authority to register as an investor via FOLK2FOLK’s award-winning lending platform. By investing via FOLK2FOLK, the council will be able to build its public cash reserves via secured local investment, while contributing to a local fund for Cheltenham businesses seeking loans.

Cllr Rowena Hay, cabinet member for finance, says: “We are delighted to welcome FOLK2FOLK to Cheltenham. The council has taken the opportunity via this award-winning lending company for businesses, to help local enterprises with straightforward access to finance to support their business growth.”

“By becoming a FOLK2FOLK Lender, we will be able to invest money locally whilst also benefitting local businesses and we very much hope to encourage other councils to follow our lead.’’

FOLK2FOLK loans start from a minimum of £50,000 for up to five years, with the largest loan to date being £10m.  The minimum investment amount is £25,000.

Roy Warren, FOLK2FOLK managing director said: “FOLK2FOLK has been match-making between businesses and individual and institutional investors across the three counties for four years now and our move to Cheltenham feels like a natural progression.”

“12 years on from the financial crisis and a funding gap still exists.”

“Many credit-worthy, micro and SME businesses are still unable to access finance via high street banks due to a number of factors ranging from age through to lack of trading history. In these instances, we’re often able to help businesses take the next step whether that be to get started, diversify or grow and create the necessary trading evidence to be able to refinance with the bank after a couple of years.

We’re delighted to have Cheltenham Borough Council registered as an investor and welcome their contribution towards a fund for Cheltenham businesses.  By investing via FOLK2FOLK, they are helping to stimulate and build local economic growth; essential for Britain’s post-Brexit success.”

FOLK2FOLK has facilitated £341 million in secured loans to start ups and SMEs across a variety of sectors, including retail, manufacturing, agriculture, alternative energy, leisure and tourism, hospitality and property development.

To be considered for a loan, applicants must be using it for business purposes; have land or property to offer as security; be able to afford monthly interest repayments of typically 6.5% p.a.; and have a plan for how to repay the loan at the end of its term, the most usual being via a bank refinance.

Pictured (left to right):

  • Paul Jones, Executive Director Finance & Assets, Cheltenham Borough Council
  • Roy Warren, Managing Director, FOLK2FOLK
  • Councillor Rowena Hay, Cabinet Member for Finance,  Cheltenham Borough Council

Find out more about borrowing here.

The property against which the loan is secured could be at risk if you don’t meet payments.
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