Business clinic: Funding for recruitment

People are the most important asset of any business, yet despite this, banks are still reluctant to fund the expansion of teams, particularly where there is no tangible security to support the investment.

NorthWestFundBy Steve Fishburn, investment director, Enterprise Ventures.

The fall back is often the need for personal guarantees from directors which may not always be appropriate.

So how do SMEs secure funding, when there are no tangible assets to provide security?

It is vital that SMEs secure the right funding for the needs of their business. Banks will provide support by way of a mortgage for property, invoice discounting to generate cash from debtors, and working capital for stock.

Where the funding is to recruit people to grow into new sectors or geographies, particularly exporting, the support of a funder with a greater risk appetite is often more appropriate. Such a funder will still be as focused on the capability of management (back to people again) to execute the new direction for the business, as it will be on the sales from the new investment which will generate the cash to service and repay the investment.

The North West Fund for Mezzanine has a particular focus on creating and safeguarding jobs in the region. As a result, we’re interested in speaking to teams looking for funding to recruit skilled workforces.

Financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, we can provide loan finance from £750,000 to £2m, with a small equity element attached due to associated risks highlighted above.

It will typically rank behind the main working capital lender, leaving this relationship unaffected, and in many cases enhanced, as new capital has been introduced to the business to fuel growth. The North West Fund for Mezzanine is managed by Enterprise Ventures, a business with its roots in Lancashire. Enterprise Ventures has three offices across the North West and a vast network ready to support SMEs in Lancashire who are looking to expand.