The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the fragility and vulnerability of our globalised food system and our reliance on long, just in time supply chains. This has led to a big increase in demand for local food but many agroecological producers and community food businesses have had to stop taking on new customers due to lack of resources, staff and supply chain difficulties.
We want to try and do something to help these organisations through this crisis, both ensuring that they are able to survive, but also helping them to meet growing demand by developing new routes to market and scaling their operations for the long term.
We are offering the following funding for a initial period of 3 months from 1st April 2020:
- Small unsecured loans from £5,000 to £20,000
- 3-month capital and interest holiday, followed by 12-month capital holiday
- Interest rate: 5%
- Term: 5 years and 3 months
- Quick decision (we aim for funds to be paid to successful organisations within 14 days of application)
- Arrangement fee: Waived while this offer is open.
No grant will be paid with these small loans. If you need more than £20,000 of funding please apply to the general LEAP programme (which provides a blended financial package of loans, grants and mentoring) in the usual way.
The focus for this funding will be on established community food businesses and agroecological growers and it can be used for anything that helps them navigate this crisis. The investment could be used for working capital to develop new routes to market or to scale up production to meet growing demand. It can be used for recruiting more staff, investing in IT and delivery vehicles, new processing facilities and equipment. We have set the following main criteria:
- At least 50% of income must come from food and drink production or sales
- Must have been established and trading for at least 3 years or have a turnover of at least £40,000
- Must be constituted as a CBS, CIC, CLG, Coop or CIO. We cannot fund sole traders, partnerships or CLSs
- We will look for evidence that you meet our enlightened agriculture and social impact criteria
We ask for the following basic information:
- Brief description of the business
- The amount required and what it will be used for
- Last set of approved accounts
- Most recent set of quarterly management accounts
- 12 month cash flow forecast
- Legal form of governance
- Information on what the loan will be used for
- Information on security of tenure
- A brief social impact statement
To apply, please fill out the application form. We aim to reply within 24 hours with any follow-up questions, and will ask you to send us your last set of approved accounts and your most recent set of quarterly management accounts.