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South Yorkshire Microloan lends a hand to small businesses.

Published: 22nd June 2004

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Fiona Greaves from SYML and Cheryl Marie Wright, founder of Sherbert Creative.

Small businesses in the region are being helped to boost their market presence thanks to loans from South Yorkshire Microloan.

Microloans are aimed at small businesses that are unable to raise sufficient (or any) finance from commercial sources, loans of £1,000 to £15,000 are available for existing businesses and up to £10,000 for start ups. Applicants with a poor credit history or County Court Judgements are considered and applicants have the opportunity to present their business idea to a panel of local business people.

Administered and co-ordinated by South Yorkshire Investment Fund, the Microloan fund is a partnership of the local Enterprise Agencies in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield and Doncaster Chamber of Commerce.

Sherbert Creative, based in Elsecar, recently received a £5,000 loan to help develop an already promising business. The South Yorkshire company designs and manufactures contemporary social stationery products including greetings cards, wedding stationery and hand bound blank books, using traditional letterpress printing.

Cheryl Marie Wright, founder of Sherbert Creative, said "I have always been confident in the services and products we offer and how we run the business, it was just a question of getting ourselves out there."

"After meeting with a Microloan Loan Officer I put forward our proposal and kept my fingers crossed. It was that simple."

"I was delighted when we were awarded £5000. The loan has been used to advertise, attend trade shows and increase our marketing in general."

Another company to receive a helping hand from Microloan is Flatworld (UK). The Sheffield-based company design and distribute their pioneering brand of fold flat space saving cups, bowls and multifunctional dishes, primarily aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, using an origami-like process known as 'Orikaso'.

Flatworld received a £10,000 loan and is spending the money on sales and marketing, using the loan to attend trade shows in Germany this Summer.

Jay Cousins, founder of Flatworld, said "The loan has helped us significantly, allowing us to exploit the many opportunities available to us and creating new opportunities within our core market."

Fiona Greaves, a SYML Loan Officer, said: "These companies had reached a point where they needed a little help to take a promising business strategy forward – it is these kind of projects the Microloan has been designed to help. We want to hear from new and existing small businesses who have found it difficult to obtain finance."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).