The interest-free loans will help the local economy to be more resilient and inclusive
Bristol Pound is now able to offer independent businesses access to free finance through interest-free loans, thanks to its partnership with Bristol Credit Union. The aim is to provide finance that meets the needs of local business and will help the business to grow, at the same time as increasing the use of Bristol Pounds in the economy.
The Bristol Pound (£B) is the UK’s largest local currency. Launched in 2012, it aims to create a more resilient and sustainable independent business sector in Bristol, and, in turn, a fairer and more inclusive local economy.
Bristol Pound ensures that more money circulates locally and supports the development of Bristol-owned enterprise. Any business member of the Bristol Pound that has been trading for two or more years and has a turnover of £25k+ per annum will be eligible to borrow between 1,000 and 15,000 Bristol Pounds – loan funds are put forward by the Bristol Credit Union.
Diana Finch, Bristol Pound MD, commented on the scheme: “Taking out a loan is an opportunity to invest in growing your business. Taking out that loan in Bristol Pounds does something extra – it helps ensure the money stays in the Bristol Pound network, creating sales opportunities for other local businesses like yours – and in turn potentially being re-spent with your own business in the future.”
The loans are interest-free for the businesses that borrow. The cost of borrowing is covered through a ‘finder’s fee’. This takes the form of a 5% transaction charge levied on all payments from the loan account to the members who benefit from the extra business generated through the loan.
The loan can be spent on anything a small business might need such as marketing, printing, equipment, vehicles, business services and more. There are hundreds of local businesses ready and willing to accept Bristol Pounds, and the Bristol Pound team can help loan applicants work out their supply chain for the investment.
Finch continued: “By spending Bristol Pounds you become a part of a strong and supportive business network, in turn helping the local economy to be more resilient and inclusive.”
The business lending will at first operate as a pilot loan scheme. This means a small number of limited scale loans of up to 15,000 Bristol Pounds will be offered to qualifying members of Bristol Pound. It is anticipated with the success of the pilot scheme, business lending will be expanded and open for any Bristol Pound business member to apply.
If you would like your business to be considered for a loan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image credit: Bristol Pound