Bin Brexit fears and invest for long term growth, urges funding chief

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Grahame Latus, chief executive of Enterprise Answers.
Grahame Latus, chief executive of Enterprise Answers.
Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8:44AM

Cumbrian businesses should stop worrying about Brexit and continue investing for long term growth according to the boss of a not-for profit company that provides loans to Cumbrian firms rejected by the banks.

Enterprise Answers has lent over £11 million to businesses since its launch in 2005, but chief executive Grahame Latus says he has noticed a slowing down in applications for funding over the last 12 months.

“Things have been challenging this year because of the impact of Brexit, which has meant that businesses do have reservations and concerns about investing for the long term.

“I have visited some businesses recently who are doing extremely well in putting their products out across the UK and when I ask the question about when they are going to go international the usual answer is ‘Let’s see what Brexit brings’.

“I can understand businesses being cautious, but I would like to see them invest for growth because I don’t think Brexit will change everything. It may change how we do some things, but the world out there still values British products and I would encourage them to carry on doing what they are good at and focus on the future with optimism” he says.

Enterprise Answers provides loans of up to £100,000 to SMEs who have already been turned down for finance by the banks. As a community development finance institution its purpose is not to generate profits for shareholders, but to help businesses grow and support the local economy.

“We are not lending for the sake of lending. We want to lend to businesses so they can realise their potential and be a better business at the end of the loan than they were at the beginning,” Grahame says.

Enterprise Answers takes a close interest in the businesses they lend to and continues to visit and assist during the term of the loan, he adds.

The company has lent to firms in every sector of the Cumbrian economy, but if you like your beer you should raise a glass to Enterprise Answers as it has supported at least three local breweries, a number of pubs, restaurants, cafes and they are passionate about the Cumbrian food and drink sector which Grahame says ‘is proving to be very important within the Cumbrian economy’.

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