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Profile Winter 2007 Newsletter

Links strengthened with business forum

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Pictured: BME Forum coordinator Bernadette Grocock

Relationships between the BME business community and financial organisations have been strengthened thanks to an event designed to bring the sectors together.

The BME Business Forum, which is backed by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, organised the second annual Accessing Finance event to try and help the sectors learn more about each other.

Approximately 150 guests heard Bill Kimbering of Muntaz Ventures, which runs a number of restaurants in Bradford and sells Halal baby food, share his experiences of establishing a business. The other key-note speaker was SYIF's Chief Executive Tony Goulbourn.

BME Forum coordinator Bernadette Grocock said: "Accessing finance is one of the areas the forum gets asked about most. There's sometimes a lack of knowledge on both sides as to how BME businesses and financial organisations can work together and it's something we hope to rectify over time."

In the last 12 months the forum has brokered a number of meetings with banks and finance organisations to outline the needs of BME businesses and identify areas where organisations can improve working relationships.

Tony Goulbourn and Alistair Watson of HSBC, who is also Chairman and Director of Pro Sheffield, helped to organise the meetings between the forum and the financial community.

Tony said: "The language of finance can be complex and knowing who to turn to and what they are able to offer can be confusing. The key for most small businesses is to understand the expectation of those providing finance, take advice, if you can, and build relationships with your bank.

"Through organisations such as the BME Business Forum, SYIF and the banks working together, and events such as this hopefully we can enable more entrepreneurs find the support necessary."

For further information about the BME Business Forum contact Bernadette Grocock on 0114 281 4748.

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).