Financial challenges come thick and fast in the world of business but none more so than during the coronavirus crisis.
Lockdown, closures, loss of markets, uncertainty about the future not to mention how to deal with employees both from a safety and a financial point of view – the challenges facing businesses have been unprecedented.
Even those who found themselves going through rapid growth during the period.
The UK government introduced a raft of economic measures designed to help firms navigate a way through and now, as companies return to some kind of new normal, that assistance has – and continues to be – vital.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – CBILS for short – is one of them.
Launched by the UK government in March to support SMEs through the pandemic, the scheme offers a loan of up to £750,000 through accredited lenders.
In the Tees Valley region, one of them is FW Capital and the firm’s Joanne Whitfield says CBILS is a vital part of the toolbox when it comes to helping firms bounce back and plan for the future.
“People thought short term at the start, emergency money needed to get through, the bounce back loan is a good example of that,” said Joanne.
“Now people have taken stock, breathed and are looking to the longer term, how they can get back to business as usual, CBILS is really good for that.
“It gives businesses a really good runway to get staff back from furlough, get back to a more normal position.”
Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors have applied for the funding, she said. It isn’t right for everyone but for some it has been a sensible way forward.
Wilton Group is one of them. Bill Scott, chief executive of the Port Clarence firm, says for his company, CBILS is a way to help plan for the future – and a safety net for future unknowns.
The firm has continued working through the past four months, initially furloughing some staff and then bringing them back in varying degrees.
“If you have got an opportunity where you can get a loan at interest free rates for a year, our solution was to borrow the money and park it, if we don’t need to use it that’s great, if we do that’s great.
“We will have some increased work capacity at Wilton, we’re looking to grow, while the offer’s there we thought we would take it,” said Bill.
Joanne and Bill joined Graham Cornforth from accountancy firm Baldwins for the latest edition of our Tees Business Leaders Facebook Live features (see it in full below).
Throughout the past few months, Baldwins has been able to help its clients apply for the various schemes on offer best suited to them.
Graham hopes the survival phase is over and that businesses can now start to look forward.
“I hope businesses can start to look forward to the future, there are some great businesses in the Tees Valley. We know there are going to be headlines to come, but we do need to look forward to medium and long term,” he said.
The Tees Business Leaders Online Q&A.This week we’re joined by Graham Cornforth from Baldwins Group, Joanne Whitfield…