businesses can now apply for interest-free loans with the Escalate
programme. Michael Fallon MP, the Business Minister, teamed up with
Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council and Chairman
of the West Kent Partnership, and local businessman Jan van de Velde,
the MD of Kit for Kids, to launch the scheme in Sevenoaks on Friday
6 December 2013.
is open to small and medium sized businesses in West Kent and East
Sussex with the potential to grow quickly, with the aim of creating
or protecting 1,250 jobs. In all, £5.5 million is available
to invest in local businesses.
Escalate loans are interest-free and normally unsecured –
but rather than being used as working capital, they will need to
be used for specific projects that create jobs, support business
expansion and help attract additional private investment.
Michael Fallon, MP for Sevenoaks, welcomed the scheme: "Escalate
should be a big boost for our local businesses. Attracting finance
is still a problem for many companies that have the potential to
expand. But the £5.5m Escalate loan fund will provide an important
source of new funding to help these ambitious firms develop, grow
and take on new staff.”
Cllr Peter Fleming, adds: “With the launch of Escalate our
small and medium sized businesses can access a new source of funding
to help them develop. We know that in too many cases businesses
find it hard to borrow money from the banks, but this scheme can
help our growing enterprises reach their full potential.”
Jan van der Velde, the Managing Director of Kit For Kids, a Sevenoaks-based
world-leader in the design of primary educational equipment and
cot mattresses, helped with the Escalate bid and says: “Fast
growing businesses are always cash hungry. Previously banks were
eager to lend to them but in 2008 this came to a very sudden halt.
We are seeing them lend again, however it’s still a major
problem for young, fast growing companies leaving a funding gap
for new entrepreneurs.”
should provide funding for these fast growth businesses. It should
also help to attract other private sector funds and give confidence
to banks who can see that their risk is being shared. By backing
our entrepreneurs we can unlock other forms of lending and give
these companies the working capital they need to achieve their full
potential and create jobs.”
find out more and to apply for Escalate funding visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/escalate
Escalate was established following a bid to the government’s
Regional Growth Fund supported by Kent County Council, West Kent
Partnership, Oxford Innovation and businesses and councils throughout
West Kent and East Sussex.
Businesses in Sevenoaks District and well as those in Tonbridge
& Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Hastings, Rother and
Wealden, an area known as the A21 Corridor, can apply.