South West Investment Group – £5.7m lent to businesses in 2019 across the South West - PKF Francis Clark
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South West Investment Group – £5.7m lent to businesses in 2019 across the South West

Last week, a few of us in Truro office met with a small group from the South West Investment Group (SWIG Finance) for a mutual update over sandwiches.

Regular readers of the PKF Francis Clark blog will be aware that we have a good working relationship with SWIG Finance and they are, for example, one of our regular speakers at our annual Finance in Cornwall event.

SWIG Finance – a few statistics, with a few surprises

SWIG Finance brought some statistics about their lending to the lunch, a few of which I share with you below:

  • In the calendar year 2019, SWIG Finance lent a total of £5.7m across 369 businesses
  • Of this total lent:
    • £1.521m was from own funds (supporting 36 businesses)
    • £3.842m was Start- Up Loans (supporting 325 businesses)
    • £337k was Cornwall and Isles Scilly Investment Fund loans (supporting 8 businesses)
  • The geographical breakdown was most surprising (to me) with more being lent to businesses in Heart of South West LEP area (£2.038m) than Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP area (£1.947m)
  • Lending was businesses across the South West
  • In terms of “loan purpose” the largest three categories were:
    • Buying equipment or other assets (28%)
    • Working capital (22%)
    • Financing growth (entry into new markets) (13%)
  • Over 50 different trades have been assisted by these loan facilities

SWIG Finance – Business Loans

I was going to draft some text to describe what loans are offered by SWIG Finance, but was not sure I could say it better than the website:

  • “SWIG Finance provides viable SMEs and start-ups with access to finance through dedicated business loan funds in the South West region.
  • We provide loans from £500 – £100,000 to businesses based in Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire & Gloucestershire, and up to £250,000 to businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Meeting my blogging hero

As an aside, on a personal note, I was very pleased to meet the man who got me into blogging – Dave Bullen.  Dave is now Finance Manager at SWIG Finance, but a few years ago was at PKF Francis Clark. His blogs inspired me to take an active interest in business finance – and blogging.  I try and emulate his style in my blogs – informative and to the point.  Thank you, Dave.

Business Plans and Projections

The importance of business plans and projections to a successful loan application was one point we discussed at the meeting. I understand that the SWIG Finance team are “hands-on” when assisting potential applicants, so it will be good to share experiences.

As a result of these discussions, we are going to work with SWIG Finance on our April 2020 breakfast briefing on “projections and management accounts”.  More details to follow.  In the interim, I have drafted a piece on the subject for the next SWIG e-newsletter.

SWIG Finance – a regional lender

I shall be sharing this blog and other materials with colleagues across the PKF Francis Clark offices as, as noted above, their geographical coverage overlaps with office locations.  They will continue to be foremost in mind when I meet with businesses looking for start-up finance or alternative the bank for growth finance.

By Andrew James

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