AHEAD of Brighton Chamber’s next High Growth event in March, we spoke with fund manager Jon Cornell of the FSE Group to get some key insights into business funding.

Jon’s role as fund manager is to support established local SME businesses with loan funding and relationship support to enable their businesses to grow.

The FSE Group, a community interest company, manages debt and equity funds on behalf of a range of public sector and private investors.

These funds come in the form of a Growth Equity Fund and an Expansion Loan Scheme.

To many of us, this doesn’t mean much.

We asked Jon to explain the difference and who might be eligible.

“The Growth Equity Fund provides equity of £50,000 - £200,000 on a matched investment basis to take investment in shares in high growth SME businesses.

“The focus is on early stage businesses with exceptional potential.

“The Expansion Loan Scheme provides loans of £50,000 - £500,000 to established businesses requiring finance to achieve substantial growth.

“Funding can be provided over a term of up to four years to support, for example, marketing and sales team development, operational scaling up and new product or service enhancement.

“We also offer a shorter term Trade Finance Loan scheme of £50,000 - £200,000 to cover situations such as working capital for specific new contracts, short term irregular invoicing patterns or up-front tooling requirements.

“Loans and equity funding will both be subject to an assessment process which primarily concentrates on the plans and future cash flows of the business and the team that will deliver those plans.

“In order to qualify, businesses must have their base and/or a majority of their trading activities based in the Coast to Capital area.

“We cannot support start-up or pre-revenue businesses – typically we support established businesses that have some traction in their goods and services with strong growth potential.

“We may look to support businesses who are unable to get conventional funding, but each case is subject to analysis, due diligence and security.”

If you’re a business owner and funding is something you have never approached before it’s very tricky to know where to start.

Jon said businesses can become considerably more attractive to funders simply by preparing a well thought through business plan.This should answer:

o Who are you and what do you do?

o Who is your market and what are your USPs?

o How do you market and how do you sell?

o Who are your staff? What are their backgrounds? Does your existing team cover all your requirements?

o What’s your sales forecast? (Make this realistic!)

o What do you need financing?

o How is the business currently funded and what are the risks?

Are you interested in finding out more about funding?

Come along to The Investment Journey for High Growth Entrepreneurs on Tuesday March 27.

Jon will be joined by panellists Claire Taylor, CEO and founder at Simply VAT and Alex Packham, CEO and founder at ContentCal, discussing when, why and how businesses should approach funding. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-investment-journey-for-high-growth-entrepreneurs-tickets-42909329961