David Cameron supports Fredericks Oxfordshire launch at Blenheim Palace
At an uplifting event at Blenheim Palace on Friday 17th June, David Cameron told 250 assembled guests that the economic recovery in Britain was already starting in the private sector, with small businesses leading the way.
He was there to launch the new local Hub of a charity that offers business loans to those who are turned down by the banks and other lenders for finance – and which also celebrated its own tenth anniversary at the same gathering.
What makes these loans different from other finance is that they come with a package of support and mentoring, to ensure the best possible future for the business; and like all the Fredericks Hubs, Fredericks Oxfordshire has a very local focus. At an early stage, the applicant works with Oxfordshire Business Enterprise advisors to present the best possible business plan to a panel of local businesspeople, which then makes the decision on the loan.
The emphasis is on the individual behind the business as much as any past financial achievements, and although thorough, the process is friendly and aiming to nurture successful businesses of all types and sizes across the county. Once a loan is drawn, the recipient then works with TBAC and other professional mentors to address any early issues and ensure the best possible future for the new business.
From the outset the Foundation has focused across the south of England from Devon to Kent on helping the financially disadvantaged to set up in business, and has worked with the unemployed, ex-offenders, young single parents and those excluded from finance. But in the current climate they have increasingly seen applications from more established businesses looking to expand, which are also unable to finance their growth.
Founder Paul Barry-Walsh assured guests that far from ‘bashing the banks’, Fredericks works closely with high street lenders who often see merit in the loan applications they receive but for various reasons are unable to lend. Other referrals come typically from accountants and business advisors who recommend the ongoing support as one step further than just a short-term cash injection for a new or struggling business.
David Cameron described Fredericks as a cause close to his heart, as a real Big Society organisation, and a shot in the arm for business in the county.
Will Barton from WODC and Chairman of Fredericks Oxfordshire introduced guests both to loan recipients who have made successes of their businesses and to some of the local mentors, investors and other supporters on whom the Foundation’s work depends. Mark Beard of Beard Construction and Dave Beesley of B-Line spoke about their involvement, and Critchleys’ Gavin Little outlined tax breaks available to those lending to Fredericks under the Community Investment Tax Relief scheme. Will Barton closed by describing the many ways people can get involved with the scheme, from fundraising to mentoring, offering meeting space to sitting on lending panels, and referring new clients, all of which ensures a healthy business community in Oxfordshire for the good of all.
The whole event was described as ‘uplifting’, ‘informative’ and ‘inspirational’ by attendees.
Image credits: Ric Mellis
For more information, please contact Will Barton, Chairman of Fredericks Oxfordshire, William.Barton@WESTOXON.GOV.UK or Charles Dodwell, CEO, Fredericks Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional report in Oxford Journal
Images: David Cameron with Paul Barry-Walsh, founder, Fredericks Foundation, at the launch, other images – David Cameron speaks, and the assembled crowd in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace. Image credits: Ric Mellis