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Financial support for military-owned smaller businesses
A partnership between X-Forces Enterprise (XFE), X-Emergency Services (XES) and AskIf is to provide a new coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), offering access to financial support for businesses needing to stabilise their operations.
- AskIf, a newly accredited lender under the CBILS, has partnered with not-for-profit community interest companies, XFE and XES, to provide financial support to smaller businesses across the UK, which are owned by members of the military or emergency services communities.
- Those businesses that are losing revenue and/or seeing their cash flow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can apply for a loan to bridge the gap in their own finances, and have the arrangement fees and first 12 months interest paid for them by the government.
- The CBILS forms part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. It provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee. The borrower also benefits from government support covering all fees and the first 12 months of interest.
- With these AskIf loans there are no personal guarantees required and also no early repayment penalties if the borrower gets back on track sooner than expected.
XFE and AskIf have launched this partnership to enable beneficiaries within the Armed Forces community to access much needed funding at a time of great uncertainty. The multi-billion-pound funding gap for credit-worthy micro-businesses, excluded by mainstream lenders and algorithmic decision making, is likely to grow in the current economic climate, which means this partnership is launching at a critical time for SMEs within the Armed Forces community.
Says Martin Wing, Chairman XFE: ‘Support for fledgling businesses is critical at the moment. We are delighted to have been able to move quickly and offer this CBILS-backed finance offer through AskIf. Cash flow and liquidity are essential for all businesses, of all sizes, and if this goes some way in enabling the communities we support to see through the current challenges, then we are doing our job well. The right finance and the right levels of support are essential; information and knowledge are what people urgently need to make informed decisions for themselves, their businesses and their families.’
Through AskIf, XFE and XES can offer CBILS loans from £10,000 to £60,000 to businesses that have been trading for a minimum of 12 months. Samantha Bamert, founder and CEO of AskIf continues, ‘We are delighted to be working with an organisation that has such an exceptional reputation. Smaller enterprises are the lifeblood of our economy and need all the support they can get right now. We are confident the support we can give to business owners from the Forces and emergency services communities through XFE and XES will benefit many businesses and their own customers, not just now during this challenging time but when they need to set themselves for growth too.’
About X-Forces Enterprise and X-Emergency Services
XFE is the leading organisation in the UK for enterprise support in the Armed Forces community. XES recently launched to support the blue-light service community in a similar manner. The two organisations share knowledge and resources to deliver to both communities as there is an enormous amount of synergy.
Since 2013 XFE has supported more than 2,000 start-up businesses via the government-backed Start Up Loans Company (SULC), enabling £19.6m to be invested in job and wealth creation. Within the military community the handrail of support is essential to business establishment and stabilisation. XFE has delivered 34,000-plus hours of training, and connected many individuals to enhance their networks and get the support they need. Many of these businesses now need that support more than ever before, to access knowledge that will enable them to plan for a brighter future.
AskIf (Ask Inclusive Finance) is an inclusive lender that combines a ‘human touch’ customer approach with the technology to deliver a streamlined customer experience. It is focused on helping borrowers unable to secure finance from mainstream banks and online lenders. Its underwriting process is heavily skewed towards assessment of affordability and understanding borrower circumstances to establish suitability. Lending managers support the borrower through the application process and help applicants fill in the ‘data gaps’ to unlock approval.
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