A business support and enterprise agency has experienced its busiest start to the year after a hike in loan applications.
Entrust, which was set up more than 30 years ago, has already received 15 applications to the Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund totalling £248,000 in the first two weeks of 2014, compared to eight in the same period last year.
The development supports reports suggesting economic activity is at its highest since the start of the recession and confidence levels are slowly returning within SMEs across the region.
Peter Gilson, head of funds and investment at Entrust, said: “Applications came in steadily in the last quarter of 2013 and this further increase in loan applications from both entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business and established owner-managers has been pleasing to see.
“The banks may be saying they are lending but we are hearing differently and continue to receive enquiries from a range of sole traders, limited companies and partnerships.
“We have over £2m to lend to up to 200 North East businesses this year with amounts from £1,000 right through to £25,000.
“We are perfectly placed to support those looking to launch or grow a business and also those finding it difficult to secure mainstream finance.
“We even have packages that work for third sector organisations too.
“People should get in touch now to make the most of this opportunity while the money is there as it is going quickly now confidence is on the up.”