EEDA helps arrange small business loans

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have been finding it tricky raising finance lately, that's no secret.

But the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is putting its money where its mouth is and shelling out loans of up to £200,000 to give such individuals a foot up the business ladder.

Even if you've already been refused cash by your bank, you're still eligible – in fact, if that's the case, you've ticked the box you need to qualify for the Small Loans for Business programme.

The help for businesses across Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire comes after the Federation for Small Businesses criticised UK banks' "monopoly of power" over small firms seeking finance.

It called for a bigger variety of affordable loans and overdrafts, particularly at a local level.

"Business owners often think they have nowhere to turn if they are refused credit from the banks, but that's not true," says Richard Ellis, chair of EEDA.

"Here at EEDA, we are offering loans with flexible repayment terms to businesses with viable business plans - businesses which may just be seen as too risky for banks to support in the current climate."

While the Small Loans for Business initiative offers between £500 and £50,000 to regional enterprises whose funding applications have been refused by banks, EEDA's Regional Growth Loans can provide up to £200,000 for small to medium-sized firms which have "a real potential for long-term growth" and a workable business proposition.