As October quickly disappears, it’s almost impossible to believe it’s been six months since England was forced into national lockdown. We have all become accustomed to the only certain aspect of life being the presence of uncertainty and as we approach the Winter months with a tiered lockdown plan, it seems this isn’t about to change.
The public health, social and economic implications of COVID-19 have been vast and severely felt. According to recent data, 47% of businesses experienced a decrease in turnover in September, with a 43% gap between turnover in 2019. The data on closing small businesses remains unclear, but with figures like these and a growing number of big fish on the high street facing mounting challenges, we can all see there is only so long these conditions can continue without doing long-term damage to our economy.
Everyone from pastry shops to tech startups are building back better with support from the CBILS scheme
Watching SMEs we’ve helped nurture and young microbusinesses experience so much unrest has been difficult to bear. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a fight taking place and we’re seeing it first hand. Businesses all over the UK are getting up each day and adapting to the new normal, evolving their businesses to exploit new opportunities presented by the ‘new normal’. It is often so much more than business for these organisations and they’re really showing it with as much heart as they can muster.
Through our work with The British Business Bank, we have been able to help facilitate the CBILS loan scheme, offering loans from £50,000 to £100,000 for businesses who need it most. Unlike most mainstream lenders and major banks, we go deeper than the numbers and speak on a human level to founders who need to be listened to.
47% OF BUSINESSES EXPERIENCED A DECREASE IN TURNOVER IN SEPTEMBER, WITH A 43% GAP BETWEEN TURNOVER IN 2019
As the chancellor gears up to help the hospitality industry in a further package of funding it is important to note CBILS support which has already made a lasting effect, making sure businesses in this sector are in a better position now to deal with further permutations of a national lockdown.
Casa Cannoli, a family business run by Dario Dendi in London was saved from huge difficulties when the business was closed temporarily earlier in the year.
“Securing the funding has given our business the boost it needed at the most difficult time.“
Dario Dendi (Casa Cannoli Ltd)
Dario said: “Securing the funding has given our business the boost it needed at the most difficult time. We ensured short term survival and enhanced our long term growth with manageable repayments. I have been able to sustain my business, keep a roof over my family’s head.
“Knowing that the Government is willing to support me at this time of great difficulty makes me even more determined to grow the business in the future so that I can pay back to the UK economy.
“Since receiving the loan, we have also pivoted with a fully functional ecommerce website so we can continue to sell our product even with our stores closed.”
LOANS FROM £50,000 TO £100,000 FOR BUSINESS WHO NEED IT MOST
It’s not only the companies you would expect that have benefitted from CBILS, AskIf has been able to secure the future growth of organisations involved in the tech world too. One of the stand out examples is Plexus Innovation who secured a £60,000 CBILS loan in July.
Co founder of Plexus, Ian Murray said: “We were very grateful that we managed to secure our CBILS fund, simply because it’s helped us transition to a point where we’ve been able to gear ourselves up for the future – and even pivot slightly. We’re now looking at a wider market than ever before.”
“With the CBILS funding we fairly rapidly redeveloped our core measurement technology to be able to remotely monitor medication refrigerators.”
Ian Murray (Plexus Innovation)
Plexus Innovation has been able to help Careline Lifestyles, an Adult Social Care Provider based in the North East, with a roll-out of their compliance management system: GUARDIAN ® designed to support care home staff during COVID-19 conditions and beyond.
Ian commented: “We realised that the care home sector would benefit from our technology and we wanted to help them, so we found an avenue into this sector via our business network, to the operations director of a chain of 10 care homes in the North East.
“With the CBILS funding we fairly rapidly redeveloped our core measurement technology to be able to remotely monitor medication refrigerators. They were having to use their care professionals and nurses to carry this out because they must be maintained at a specific temperature to prevent critical medication waste. We said ‘that’s easy we can do that for you’… we said ‘we’ll give you the hardware, it’s all ready to go, we’ll remotely train your staff, we’ll manage it for you and talk again later in the year about any commercial proposition, once things settle down and staff are under less pressure.”
Talking about a positive future, Mr Murray said: “We are coming out of this in a strong place. There are many businesses out there who need the solution we offer; they’re just looking for the right combination of technology and provider. We believe that we deliver the full package.”
We are sure that the small business have the determination and ambition to make it through these challenges intelligently, there aren’t many founders we speak to that are without hope of a better future, like Ian.