Published: March 23, 2023
Region: West Midlands
Loan of £1.2m supports 15 SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire
West Midlands-based Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) was able to provide funding for 15 businesses, create 62 jobs and safeguard a further 163 thanks to seven-figure finance from Unity.
Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) provided loans to small businesses across the West Midlands as part of the Government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) and supported organisations to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sheridan Sulskis, CEO of CWRT, said: “We pride ourselves on supporting entrepreneurship in communities that are under-served by mainstream providers.
“I really like working with Unity because they are similar to CDFIs. Finance isn’t just about whether the computer says ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It’s about understanding a business and taking a holistic view about what it’s doing and why it’s doing it.
“Unity’s ethos of working together to create a better society aligns with our own. Our relationship manager Jason James has a thorough understanding of what we stand for.”
CWRT was established in 2004 to help eliminate the need for those from disadvantaged areas of to resort to loan sharks. It has since supported around 800 businesses, safeguarding or creating over 3,850 jobs.
Its business support arm helps equip the long term unemployed with the necessary tools and confidence to create their own start-up companies.
CWRT also launched a hugely successful new training programme in 2022, The Financial Fit (TFF). It aims to provide women with the support, business development and financial planning skills to grow their businesses.
The programme resulted in one female business owner launching two new franchises. Another won a £125,000 contract and two more employed additional staff to take their companies to the next level.
Sheridan added: “We want to make sure we support all viable businesses in our area. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our portfolio, including women and those from ethnic minority communities.”