26 MARCH 2015 NOT EXEMPT BUSINESS SUPPORT : LOAN FUND UPDATE

Loading....

Loading....

Loading....

Loading....

Loading....

Full text

(1)

1 SUMMARY

East of Scotland Investment Fund

1.1 Stirling Council became a member of the East of Scotland Investment Fund in June 2011, and invested £177,000.

1.2 The East of Scotland Investment Fund currently provides loans not exceeding £100K and up to 50% of a funding package to assist the start-up or growth of small and medium-sized businesses.

1.3 The Council’s business support function transferred to Stirling Enterprise (STEP) on 16 October 2013; this included the administration of the East of Scotland Investment Fund on behalf of the Council. Stirling Enterprise also undertake the promotion and administration of the Stirling Business

Investment Fund.

Stirling Business Investment Fund

1.4 The £500K Stirling Business Investment Fund was launched on 2 December 2014. The purpose of this local business investment fund is to provide financial support to help eligible small and medium sized enterprises to improve their competitive advantage, realise their ambitions to develop and grow, and therefore provide net benefits to the local economy through employment and supply chain opportunities. The funding of grants or loans would also assist businesses to either enhance or develop new income streams.

1.5 On 14 November 2013, the Finance & Economy Committee approved the establishment of a Stirling Business Investment Fund from the proceeds of the winding-up of existing redundant arms-length companies.

STIRLING COUNCIL

THIS REPORT RELATES TO ITEM 7

ON THE AGENDA

FINANCE & ECONOMY COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE

26 MARCH 2015 NOT EXEMPT

(2)

Pan Scotland Loan Fund Opportunity

1.6 Scottish Local Authority Economic Development Group (SLAED) has drawn up proposals to subsume the East of Scotland Investment Fund and West of Scotland Loan Fund into a pan Scotland loan fund, wholly owned by the member local authorities. This pan Scotland Loan Fund, supported by

Scottish Government provides the opportunity to access additional funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

1.7 This report updates members on the progress of the East of Scotland

Investment Fund and the Stirling Business Investment Fund. The report also seeks approval to join the proposed pan Scotland Loan Fund. £67,500 is required to join the new loan fund of which it is thought that half could be available through loan repayments leaving an additional £37,500 shortfall, but this cannot be guaranteed.

2 OFFICER RECOMMENDATION(S)

The Finance and Economy Committee agrees to:-

2.1 note the current status of the East of Scotland Investment Fund and the Stirling Business Investment Fund as it applies to Stirling Council; 2.2 approve Stirling Council joining the pan Scotland loan fund at a cost of

£67,500 with funding to be transferred from the Stirling Business Investment Fund; and

2.3 receive annual reports on the performance of the Scotland Wide Loan Fund and the Stirling Business Investment Fund, in March of each year.

3 CONSIDERATIONS Background

3.1 The East of Scotland Investment Fund Limited, a company limited by guarantee, is a consortium of 10 local authorities, namely Angus, City of Edinburgh, Dundee City, Falkirk, Fife, Midlothian, Moray, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and West Lothian Councils.

3.2 The primary objective of the East of Scotland Investment Fund is to encourage and support the creation, development and growth of local

businesses to allow them to contribute to and strengthen their local economy, and provide employment opportunities. The Fund aims to ensure that good commercially viable business proposals do not fail from a lack of access to finance.

3.3 Through the East of Scotland Investment Fund small and medium sized businesses can apply for a loan, currently not exceeding £100K, and up to 50% of the necessary funding package to assist start up or growth. The remaining funding must be provided by the private sector, usually from the business owners or directors. At no time will the Fund displace private sector funding.

(3)

3.4 Any application for funding from the East of Scotland Investment Fund must be supported by a valid business case, clearly demonstrating that the company’s business plans are viable, robust and sustainable. From the Fund’s perspective, each business plan requires to be appraised in a

professional and consistent manner to ensure any financial assistance will be justified, adding to the local economy and not create displacement in the local economy to the detriment of any other similar business.

3.5 Stirling Council joined the East of Scotland Investment Fund in June 2011. The Council invested £177K in the Fund, which remains the property of the Council and will only be used to support businesses within the Stirling Council area.

3.6 On 14 November 2013, the Finance & Economy Committee approved the establishment of a Stirling Business Investment Fund, to provide financial support to help eligible small and medium sized enterprises to improve their competitive advantage, realise their ambitions to develop and grow, and therefore provide net benefits to the local economy through employment and supply chain opportunities. The funding of grants or loans would also assist businesses to either enhance or develop new income streams.

3.7 The Finance & Economy Committee also agreed that financial proceeds due to the Council from the winding-up of the existing redundant arms-length companies will contribute to the funding of the Stirling Business Investment Fund.

3.8 The Stirling Business Investment Fund, as with the East of Scotland Investment Fund, will be delivered through Stirling Enterprise, who are responsible for providing a range of integrated business support services to assist start-up and growth companies, including advice, training, property, management services and access to funding.

3.9 On 27 March 2014, the Finance & Economy Committee approved the procedures for a Stirling Business Investment Fund, which included terms of reference, application eligibility and assessment criteria, re-payment process and monitoring, to ensure the appropriate and proper execution of the Fund. 3.10 The Stirling Business Investment Fund was launch on 2 December 2014. Current Status of East of Scotland Investment Fund

3.11 Up to 28 February 2015, 143 businesses within the Stirling Council area have enquired about the East of Scotland Investment Fund, with eight loan

applications submitted - four of which have been approved, one rejected, one withdrawn, and two applications currently being appraised - totalling £80K, are expecting to draw down by the end of March, with the potential of a further two loans drawing down a total of £50K, early in the new financial year.

3.12 To date, four loans to local companies have been released totalling £165,000. 3.13 In terms of local employment, the four local companies who have utilised

loans from the East of Scotland Investment Fund have safeguarded 64 jobs and forecast the creation of 29 new jobs within the Stirling area.

(4)

3.14 The current balance available to Stirling Council within the East of Scotland Investment Fund is £110K (as at 30 December 2014). This balance includes the early repayment of one of the aforementioned loans and monthly

repayments from the other approved loans. This balance does not include the two applications totalling £80K currently being appraised. There are two potential loan applications totalling £50K in the pipeline. The shortfall in the Stirling Council funding will be topped up with £20K European Regional Development Funding levered by the founding members of the East of Scotland Investment Fund.

3.15 Details of the East of Scotland Investment Fund can be accessed on-line at: - http://www.eastscotinvest.co.uk/ or via Stirling Enterprise’s website at: - http://www.stepstirling.co.uk/funding/ .

Proposed Merger of the East of Scotland Investment Fund with the West of Scotland Loan Fund

3.16 The Scottish Local Authority Economic Development group (SLAED) have drawn up proposals to subsume the East of Scotland Investment Fund with the West of Scotland Loan Fund into a new company, wholly owned by the member local authorities to provide a pan Scotland loan fund.

3.17 To date proposals have been broadly accepted across the local authorities, with support from Scottish Government. The pan Scotland loan fund gives the opportunity for local authorities to access the Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ERDF will match the fund at 40%.

3.18 The loan fund will be a total of £18M. This will be made up of local authority contributions £5.4M (30%), Bank Funding £5.4M (30%) and ERDF £7.2M (40%). The aim is to support 150 companies with loans totalling £6M in the first three years and support the creation of 450 new jobs.

3.19 It has been estimated that under the pan Scotland loan fund, £75K will be drawn down by Stirling businesses per year. Across the three years of the project, £225K will be spent by Stirling businesses. Stirling Council is required to find 30% of the £225K (£67.5K), a bank loan will provide 30% (£67.5K) and ERDF £40% (£90k).

3.20 The new limited by guarantee, pan Scotland loan fund company will have 30 member authorities and an elected board of 12 Directors. The company will operate across Scotland under the successful model developed by the East of Scotland Investment Fund and the West of Scotland Loan Fund.

3.21 Stirling Council’s membership of East of Scotland Loan Fund will transfer to the new company along with the Council’s assets. Stirling Council has invested £165K in four businesses. £97K has been paid back in loan repayments. Stirling’s closing balance at the end of December 2014 was £110K. Stirling Council has four loans in the pipeline totalling £130K. Stirling has the opportunity to access an additional £20-£30K of ERDF funding

leveraged from the founders of the East of Scotland Investment Fund to make up the shortfall that Stirling has contributed.

3.22 The Stirling Council legal team has been consulted on membership of the new company and governance arrangements.

(5)

Current Status of Stirling Business Investment Fund

3.23 The Stirling Business Investment Fund was launched on 2 December 2014. The loan fund value is £500K. To date 79 enquiries have been received, with one loan application submitted which was subsequently withdrawn and one application awaiting additional information.

3.24 Information on the Stirling Business Investment Fund can be found at http://www.stepstirling.co.uk/funding/sbif/

4 POLICY/RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS AND CONSULTATIONS

Policy Implications

Equality Impact Assessment No

Strategic Environmental Assessment No

Single Outcome Agreement Yes

Diversity (age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation) No

Sustainability (community, economic, environmental) No

Effect on Council’s green house gas emissions No Effect

Strategic/Service Plan Yes

Existing Policy or Strategy Yes

Risk Yes

Resource Implications

Financial Yes

People Yes

Land and Property or IT Systems No

Consultations

Internal or External Consultations Yes

Equality Impact Assessment

4.1 The matters presented in this report were considered under the Council’s Equalities Impact Assessment process and were assessed as not relevant for the purposes of Equality Impact Assessment.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

4.2 The matters presented in this report were considered under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and a Strategic Environmental Assessment is not required.

Single Outcome Agreement

4.1 This report supports the objectives of the Stirling Community Planning

Partnership’s Single Outcome Agreement, particularly with regard to creating a diverse economy that delivers good quality jobs.

(6)

Other Policy Implications

4.2 Key strategic priorities of the Council under Serving Stirling are to streamline business support under the leadership of the business community, and to pursue a diverse high wage economy that delivers local jobs for people across Stirling and a procurement policy that supports this. Enabling access for local businesses to the East of Scotland Investment Fund also supports these priorities.

4.3 A principal objective of Stirling’s Economic Strategy “A Strategy for Jobs” is supporting business, in particular access to funding. The principles of the East of Scotland Investment Fund, the proposed pan Scotland loan fund and the Stirling Business Investment Fund align with this objective by providing local businesses with the opportunity of financial assistance.

Risk

4.4 Applications submitted to the East of Scotland Investment Fund, Stirling Business Investment Fund and the process to be adopted by the pan Scotland loan fund, are rigorously assessed by Stirling Enterprise in terms of financial viability and robustness of business case, to minimise the risk of

non-repayment of any loans awarded. As is the case with the provision of loans, there is a risk of non-payment through the possibility of companies going out of business, or becoming so financially weak that they are unable to repay their debts.

Resource Implications

4.5 £67,500 is required for Stirling Council to top up the Stirling contribution to the East of Scotland Investment fund. It is thought that half of the funding could be available through loan repayments leaving an additional £37.5K shortfall, but this is not guaranteed. Without the £67,500 Stirling Council will not be able to join the pan Scotland Loan fund.

4.6 Stirling Council has a seat as a Director of the East of Scotland Investment Fund Limited.

4.7 Stirling Enterprise provides suitably experienced business advisors to assess applications made to the Fund.

Consultations

4.8 East of Scotland Investment Fund Limited. 4.9 Stirling Enterprise.

(7)

Tick ( ) to confirm The appropriate Convener(s), Vice-Convener(s), Portfolio Holder

and Depute Portfolio Holder have been consulted on this report NB JH The Chief Executive/Depute Chief Executive/Assistant Chief

Executive has been consulted on this report SC

5 BACKGROUND PAPERS

5.1 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 27 March 2014. Business Support: East of Scotland Investment Fund – Update.

5.2 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 18 June 2013. Stirling’s Economy - Provision of Integrated Business Support through Stirling Enterprise and Progress Report.

5.3 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 28 March 2013. Growth Plan for Stirling’s Economy – Way Forward for Economic Development and

Business Support.

5.4 Report to Finance & Economy Committee, dated 28 March 2013. Business Support: East of Scotland Investment Fund – Review.

5.5 Report to Executive, dated 27 September 2012. East of Scotland Investment Fund: Increase in Loan Value to £100K.

5.6 Report to Executive, dated 14 June 2012. East of Scotland Investment Fund: Progress Report 2011/12.

5.7 Report to Executive, dated 21 April 2011. East of Scotland Investment Fund. 5.8 Report to Finance & Economy Committed dated 13 November 2014. Stirling’s

Economy: Stirling Business Investment Fund – Revision to Procedures 5.9 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 27 March 2014. Stirling’s

Economy Stirling’s Business Investment Fund

5.10 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 30 January 2014. Associated Bodies – Wind-Up Progress Report.

5.11 Report to Finance & Economy Committee dated 14 November 2013. Stirling’s Economy – Funding Investment in Business.

5.12 ‘An Economic Growth Plan for Stirling 2013 -16 – A new vision for the

Council’s Economic Development and Business Support Services’ Report by Company Creators (dated March 2013).

5.13 Stirling Economic Partnership’s Economic Strategy 2009 – 2013: Open for Business.

(8)

6 APPENDICES 6.1 None.

Author:

Name Designation Telephone Number/E-mail

Alexandria Ward Business & Economy Officer 01786 233150

warda@stirling.gov.uk

Carol Beattie Senior Manager Economic Development

01786 233139

beattiec@stirling.gov.uk

Approved by:

Name Designation Signature

Stewart Carruth Chief Executive

Date: 27 February 2015 Service

Figure

Updating...

References

Updating...

Related subjects :