New initiatives to help SMEs get back on their feet have been launched, with a ‘shop small’ campaign and a new banking service.
Many local shops and services have been hugely impacted by lockdown measures over the last 12 months and will also have had to outlay significant costs to get their shops ready to reopen ensuring they are compliant to social distancing rules and restocked after months of closure.
As lockdown measures ease, and non-essential shops reopen, national discount scheme My VIP Card has launched its campaign ‘Shop Small to Help Out’ and vows to promote thousands of local shops and services to its huge network of UK shoppers.
As part of the campaign any small businesses can now sign up for free and will benefit from being promoted to a huge national audience of shoppers keen to support local and small business whilst taking advantage of thousands of discounts.
The new card gives local shoppers access to thousands of discounts with these local businesses and helps them save on average £500 a year while supporting their local high street.
Maddy Alexander-Grout, founder of My VIP Card, said: “We are urging everyone to download our app and get out and support these amazing local businesses. By bringing them all together on our platform we are allowing them to compete with larger chains, attract a bigger audience and hopefully encourage many shoppers to shop small and benefit from some amazing discounts.”
At the same time, Aldermore, the specialist bank, has confirmed it is now an accredited lender under the Asset Finance variant of the British Business Bank’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).
It was previously an accredited lender under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the former Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.
The RLS provides Aldermore and other accredited lenders with a government-backed guarantee and the borrower always remains 100 per cent liable for the debt.
This new scheme will potentially enable Aldermore to provide Asset Finance facilities to SMEs who have been affected by the pandemic, to support their investment in new and used assets. It launched on 6 April 2021 and will continue until 31 December 2021.
Aldermore’s asset finance RLS features include:
Advances starting from £25,000
Term length: facilities are available from 12 months up to 60 months
Agreement types considered: hire purchase, finance lease, sale and HP/lease back only
Interest and fees to be paid from the outset: businesses are required to meet the costs of interest payments and any fees associated with the RLS facility
Access to multiple Covid-19 schemes: businesses that have taken out a CBILS facility are able to access the new RLS.
Lee Rhodes, commercial director, asset finance at Aldermore, said: “Helping SMEs recover following the impact of the pandemic will be crucial to the economic future of the UK and so we welcome the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme. We’re looking forward to working closely with the British Business Bank to offer this new scheme to our customers.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the UK economy and it is our mission at Aldermore that we do everything we possibly can to help them succeed.”
Whilst Aldermore will only offer the asset finance element of the programme in the first instance, it has plans to join other variants of the scheme – helping it to provide further funding to support SMEs build business confidence for recovery and growth.