Senior Access to Finance specialist Mark Gibbons gives his view of the Lancashire economy as businesses cope with the challenges of another lockdown. As we grapple with the various tiers of lockdown, we may pick sides, arguments, policies and stats but the simple truth is that we need to continue with our lives, families, and businesses as best we can. The national lockdown poses real threats to businesses and jobs and in our county but so does the health threat.
It seems a balance is needed that supports both the health and prosperity of the county and indeed the nation. Some businesses will be irreparably damaged by the pandemic and what has followed.
We hope for others, their market will rise when we can interact without restriction (the event, hospitality and catering sectors – amongst others) and 'lift off vs lockdown' may seem like a strange title to theme a blog because many businesses are just hoping for survival during these challenging times of a second lockdown.
A glimmer of hope may be in the form of an extension to the Coronavirus loan schemes (CBILS, CLBILS & BBLS) to January 31 to support SME’s through the winter period allowing businesses additional time to access the funding or potentially top up on existing facilities.
Perhaps this presents an opportunity to adapt service offerings or diversify into other sectors or new markets. Despite these difficult times, the Access to Finance team have supported a wide range of businesses.
These include startups, such as qualified individuals with a new idea or a viable business borne by an individual who has found themselves out of work due to the pandemic. We have supported those who have pivoted to provide PPE equipment, sanitisers, ventilators and staffing to support the care support sector as well as investment for disruptive and creative entrepreneurs. There are huge challenges in current business conditions but there are also opportunities.
I am reminded and encouraged by the following quote: “Necessity is the mother of invention”
Business can find out more about Boost's Access to Finance service here.