9 April 2020
We know things are uncertain at the moment, so we want to reassure you that we are here to help you.
The rapid outbreak of the coronavirus presents an alarming health crisis that the entire world is facing. Alongside the health implications, there is significant commercial impact being felt both nationally and internationally. Large-scale quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing measures have driven a sharp fall in consumer and business spending, impacting businesses across the UK, including the Midlands.
According to new insights from business lender MarketFinance, over two-thirds (69%) of UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) reported significant pressures on their cash flow levels due to the coronavirus outbreak, leading to the UK government to introduce a number of initiatives to support these small businesses as well as the self-employed. Whilst the government and national response to the crisis continues to develop, we know that significant challenges continue to present themselves and we are committed to doing everything we can to support our portfolio companies and stakeholders through this challenging season. We would like to assure you of the appropriate measures we are taking in response to the situation and give you some detail on what you can expect from us.
Following government guidance to work from home where possible, our team is working remotely and here to support you throughout this period. Over recent years, we have taken many steps to build a business that can remain resilient through uncertain times and we are fully capable of continuing to deliver our service remotely.
Supporting new applicants
We continue to stand behind both smaller and larger businesses and we would like to reassure you that we are still providing funding to new applicants. Amid the uncertainty, there is some better news. Notwithstanding the new challenges, our team has continued to focus on providing businesses with the loan packages they need to grow. In March alone, we have completed 6 deals, lending over £2.5m to small businesses through MEIF Maven Debt Finance.
“The situation with regards to COVID-19 remains fluid, there may be a short term impact on economic activity, which we are observing now, but we are confident that the UK, and more specifically Midlands will recover.” said Jonathan Lowe, Investment Director at Maven.
The funding packages will be used by the businesses to boost growth, recruit new employees, support marketing and R&D, as well as provide working capital , which will be important for many businesses who are experiencing liquidity issues due to market conditions created by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Additionally, we have updated our eligibility criteria to allow companies who have a borrowing proposal, which were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by Maven. This should further support businesses who are experiencing challenges due to the current circumstances.
Discussing the importance of Maven continuing to provide finance and support growing businesses, Jonathan added “as a business, we are dedicated to doing whatever we can to ensure that businesses will still be able to receive the funding they need, even more so in this difficult time..”
Supporting our portfolio companies
Our aim has always been to build and support a portfolio of vibrant, growing companies, and that remains unchanged even during this difficult time. We have contacted our portfolio companies to discuss if and how they may have been affected by coronavirus and offer our financial support and advice. These businesses are important for the future of the Midlands and our goal is to continue to work with them portfolio businesses during this challenging time, providing continuity to both the business and its customer base wherever possible.
What we expect in the coming months
In times like these it’s more important than ever to take a long-term view. Significant economic changes are unusual events but are not unprecedented, and we have seen time and again that economies can bounce back, even after facing hard hits. So while Maven, like other regional fund managers, will need to be more prudent with regard to the new companies it supports in the coming months, our positioning remains the same.
“Our commitment to backing businesses across the Midlands remains steadfast,” explains Andrew Ferguson, Partner at Maven, “our team is on the ground and our priorities are unchanged. Having completed the 6 deals in the last few weeks, with more in the pipeline, we aim to continue supporting both our existing portfolio companies and new businesses during this time.” He added.
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