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Will an interest free loan help your small business grow?

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If you own a small or medium business in Kent and want to receive an interest-free loan to increase your growth, then look no further. Kent County Council are using their Regional Growth fund to help companies in Kent and Medway thrive. Those eligible for loans are looking to get anything from £50,000 to £500,000.

Through the scheme more than 2,212 jobs have already been created, with at least 1,633 jobs protected for local workers. This is likely to increase as more companies get in on the scheme. KCC is targeting businesses that currently have fewer than 250 employees and are situated in the Kent and Medway area.

How will this help?

Kent County Council are looking for local companies to enter into their scheme, which is simple enough. However, the real draw is that they’re helping to support smaller businesses that may struggle to find funding through other means.

There have been several success stories already with managers commenting on their increase in openings for workers, as well as security for those already under their employ. James Broadley of east Kent company Q’Straint commented that “the loan received from KCC enabled us to make the investment [into a new R&D facility] quickly, and without the cash injection it would have taken longer to get up and running.”

Pushing your business further through this funding will quickly aid in providing means of promoting your company and opening up more job roles to the public. However, this can only go so far in today’s market as often people resort to going online to find what they are looking for. Having a good web presence is always helpful in ensuring more potential customers are able to find you; learn more about who you are and what you do, and then potentially make a purchase or get in contact.

Do I qualify to get the loan?

There are a few restrictions laid out for companies thinking of applying. KCC seem to have put these in place to make sure they focus on certain businesses that fit their criteria.

Companies that apply for the loan must have fewer than 250 employees and be a sole trader, partnership, limited company or a not-for-profit business.
Locations that businesses should be in, or locating to are:

  • Ashford
  • Canterbury
  • Dartford
  • Dover
  • Gravesham
  • Maidstone
  • Medway
  • Sevenoaks
  • Shepway
  • Swale
  • Thanet
  • Tonbridge and Malling
  • Tunbridge Wells

If you are located in these areas and fit in with the requirements, definitely think about taking up this scheme. It will give you the opportunity to expand: from the benefits of more job roles, to the purchase of new machinery, or even aiding in improving the systems you already have. Using this money wisely will prove to be very beneficial, no matter what industry you’re in.

Is the scheme actually helping small businesses?

It looks like KCC is doing something positive with its promise of economic growth prospects in the South East. From the great responses KCC has been receiving so far it seems that they are making good on that promise. An audit report published recently praised KCC for trying to aid the local economy by doing something "unique" with its interest-free, recyclable loans.

The scheme has already begun to help a variety of businesses throughout the Kent and Medway area through offering them a chance to improve in a variety of ways. Be it through hiring more employees to fill in more job roles; purchasing more machinery to improve production within the industry or investing in getting a larger web presence by focusing on a brand new website. There are so many ways to utilise this scheme for the better and the fact that it has already helped so many businesses speaks for itself.

Visit the Kent County Council's website to find out more about the scheme. Don't forget, you must send in your pre-application by January 19.