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Small and medium businesses in Gloucestershire benefit from £1.1million investment fund

By citizenmike  |  Posted: May 26, 2014

By Michael Wilkinson, Public Affairs correspondent

Jaybee founder Jim Blythe

Jaybee founder Jim Blythe

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SMALL and medium businesses in Gloucestershire are being given a helping hand with a £1.1million investment pot.

Jaybee Plant Sales, which buys and sells used construction machinery, is an Ebley business to have benefited from borrowing money from a county-wide scheme to stimulate economic growth.

The company borrowed £120,000 from the Funding Circle pot in February to enable them to buy newer vehicles to sell on, which they would not otherwise have been able to afford.

Founder Jim Blythe, who works alongside his son Tim, said accessing the fund has been a huge boost for his family business which was established in 1973. He said: “It has been a tremendous boost for us. I can’t see any downsides to it for us. It is working capital. We work in a high capital cost industry and we have to pay up front, so cash is king.

“If you are able to double the capital it gives you bigger scope to buy later, younger machines. It has freed up our buying potential.

“I would definitely recommend the scheme to other businesses.”

Mr Blythe’s firm repays the loan on a fixed repayment schedule over five years.

A partnership with online marketplace Funding Circle and Gloucestershire County Council was launched in March 2013, giving the council the chance to join thousands of lenders across the country.

Eighteen Gloucestershire companies have benefited from the scheme – borrowing £1.1m between them to consolidate or expand their business.

Gloucestershire County Council has contributed a total of £45,000 to this sum – £2,500 to each business – in order to stimulate the local economy.

Councillor Mark Hawthorne, leader of the county council, said: “Giving small businesses the opportunity to grow is central to developing the local economy and it’s great that we’ve been able to play a role in encouraging others to do the same.

“I hope that even more companies can benefit from this innovative scheme and look forward to seeing how our lending is making a difference locally.”

David de Koning, of Funding Circle, said: “Over the last three-and-a-half years since we launched, Funding Circle investors have lent £25million to small businesses in the south west. This partnership with Gloucestershire County Council enables us to help even more of the region’s businesses.”

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