“What I am hearing is that ART’s new Community Share Offer is innovative, a very sound, solid, investment with a good rate of return.”
The Family Business Man, Peter Roper, having interviewed some of our borrowers and investors at our AGM, summed up by saying: “What I am hearing is that ART’s new Community Share Offer is innovative, a very sound, solid, investment with a good rate of return. 5% per annum is incredibly competitive, not only as a social investment on the Ethex platform, but also compared to other investments like ISAs and Bonds. It is impactful, as we have heard from ART’s borrowers, so a worthwhile and interesting proposition.”
ART’s 22nd AGM was held at i-Centrum, Innovation Birmingham Campus on 27th September and was attended by over 100 guests, including members, shareholders, borrowers and supporters.
Speaking at the AGM, ART’s Chair Nick Venning said: “Demand for loans from businesses unable to access finance from the banks continues to grow. We know it will persist and we must be ready to meet that challenge – Brexit or not, whether the economy is slow or strong. Loans to small businesses enable them to survive and grow, which creates more employment – and that is a sure fire way to tackle poverty. ART lent £3m in the financial year ending 2019 and is on track to lend £3.5m in the financial year ending 2020. Raising money to lend is a strategic imperative – we have to put our borrowing horse before our lending cart so to speak – and are seeking to raise additional capital from a variety of sources, including this latest Community Share Offer via the Ethex social investment platform.”
ART’s Chief Executive, Steve Walker, added: “Our second strategic imperative is to raise awareness of what we do, to ensure that those businesses and social enterprises that need us know we are here. We are a small business ourselves, so that continues to be a challenge even after 22 years. Many of our borrowers find us through their brokers and accountants and I would like to thank them, as well as the ART team and volunteer Board for their ongoing support and enthusiasm for what we are trying to achieve – access to finance for underserved businesses and business owners throughout the West Midlands.”
The financial return on ART’s Community Shares is via Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR), which offers 5% per annum of the sum invested off UK personal or corporate tax liabilities for a five year period. That is worth 9.1% to the highest rate personal tax payers. In addition to that there is a social return from providing access to finance to those who would otherwise struggle to fund their businesses and a wider impact on the West Midlands economy from an influx of business finance that helps to create and preserve jobs.
ART Business Loans AGM 27th September 2019