Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley Council opens business loan fund

Man operating a machine
Image caption Cradley Heath manufacturer Sealco benefited from a similar loan in 2008

Small businesses in the Black Country are being given access to a £1m council fund, in a bid to secure jobs.

The Dudley Business Loan Fund is aimed at businesses in the borough with fewer than 250 staff that have struggled to secure bank loans.

The scheme is a partnership between Dudley Council and the Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS).

Councillor Shaukat Ali said he believed it could play a "vital role" in stimulating the local economy.

He said there were some 9,000 businesses in the area that could be eligible.

The scheme, offering loans of £10,000 to £50,000, is open to small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than £5m.

The scheme has been joint funded by the council and BCRS through a European grant.

Paul Kalinaucas, chief executive of the BCRS not-for-profit lender, said the fund would help Dudley "develop, grow and prosper".

Cradley Heath manufacturer Sealco benefited from a £50,000 BCRS loan in 2008 and said small sums could sometimes make a big difference.

Managing Director Rob Fowkes said: "In that year it helped us maintain staffing levels and got us through the very sticky parts that were 2008 and 2009."

Since 2009, the company has doubled its workforce and doubled its turnover to more than £2m.

Dudley Council said it expected the new loan scheme to create 30 jobs and secure 60 more.

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