From a little cash to a lot of dough – Baker proves Lancs Lender has ‘yeast’ that businesses knead
Lancashire Community Finance is the winner of the Economic Impact category (for small responsible fionance providers) in 2016 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards – giving them national recognition and a £15,000 prize.
When Robert D’Orville, an experienced baker, heard that the owner of a small independent bakery and confectioner in Preston was retiring it was the chance to make his dream of owning his own business come true.
With retirement looming, the owner of SD Berry Pies and Confectionery was trying to sell. But with no offers on the table nine months after putting the business up for sale, the only real prospect was the closure of an integral part of the Preston community.
That’s when Robert, 25, stepped in and negotiated a deal to buy the bakery. Except there was a problem. He needed £35,000 to buy the business, and could raise £10,000 of that. But Robert’s bank declined his application for a £25,000 loan.
Robert’s plans could have collapsed like a sunken soufflé – leaving the bakery’s staff at risk of losing their jobs and the independent business ripe for closure.
But thanks to a £25,000 loan from responsible finance provider, Lancashire Community Finance, Robert was able to buy the bakery.
Since Robert took over the business earlier in the year it has gone from strength to strength, expanding its customer base and product range and exceeding sales forecasts by 50%.
The investment helped to make Robert’s dreams come true, but also enabled him to retain the existing part time members of staff, and he’s gone on to create 2 additional full time jobs, in an area which is one of the 3% most deprived in the UK.
Robert D’Orville said: “With over 9 years’ bakery experience working in similar businesses in Chorley and Blackburn, I was dying to set something up on my own. I saw the opportunity had come up to buy this business as a result of the previous owner retiring.
“With the loan from Lancashire Community Finance I was able to meet the asking price and I’m pleased to say the business is now thriving.”
It’s a great example of how business start-up loans from Lancashire Community Finance, which serves deprived areas of Lancashire, strengthen the local economy, helping to create and protect jobs.
And LCF has also saved its personal borrowing customers around £600,000 in interest payments over twelve months: using a Lancashire Community Finance Loan is far less expensive than using a loan from a doorstep lender for emergency borrowing.
Now LCF has received national and international recognition for the economic impact it’s made – and this week received a cheque for £15,000 to boost its work.
Judges in the prestigious 2016 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards praised LCF’s “positive contribution to the economy,” noting that the £816,414 it lent last year, via 838 personal loans, 18 home improvement loans and 48 business start-up loans, have created a huge benefit to the communities in which LCF works.
In fact these benefits have been calculated at £2,270,542 – equating to £324,363 for each of the 7 staff.
Manager Elaine Rimmer is thrilled. She said, “I am delighted that the team and work of Lancashire Community Finance has been recognised through the Citi Micro Entrepreneurship Awards for the impact that we make – as a small and locally based provider of responsible finance, we maintain our community-based roots – so it’s fantastic to get the national recognition that this Award provides.”
With a mission to “make a real difference to the lives of our customers by giving them a real alternative to high cost lenders whilst at the same time helping them to manage their money more effectively,” Lancashire Community Finance shows how lenders who act responsibly can turn a little cash into a lot of dough.
Responsible Finance have partnerned with the Citi Foundation to bring the global Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards to the UK for the third year. The awards celebrate the economic and social impact of responsible finance providers on the people and places of Britain, and champion the outstanding microentrepreneurs who are creating jobs, services and prosperity in their communities.
This year the prize fund has increased to £65,000 and the Award Winners were announced on the evening of 8th March 2016. More about the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards and this year’s winners.