By Oliver Smith on Friday 23 October 2020
CEO Christoph Rieche says the move is about supporting those most affected by the economic damage of Covid-19.
Business lender Iwoca has pledged £220m of funding to SMEs in the North of England by 2023 in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the additional government restrictions which are impacting tens of thousands of businesses.
The pledge comes after Iwoca previously pledged £100m for the region in 2018, and delivered on its promise a year ahead of schedule.
“It's clear that some parts of the country—particularly the North—are suffering disproportionately,” said CEO Christoph Rieche announcing the funding today.
“We want to support business owners in these areas to give them the best chance of recovery over the next few years. With this financial commitment we hope that we can drive up growth and help businesses across the North thrive.”
Over the last few weeks a political clash has broken out in the UK between the Mayors and leaders of several Northern cities, which are facing the most severe restrictions as a result of Covid-19, and the government enforcing those restrictions.
Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham has repeatedly called for additional support for people and businesses affected by the economic damage being caused by the UK's response to the pandemic.
Iwoca’s own research indicates that regions in the North of England are due to lose between 6 and 12 years of growth as a result of the financial hit from the pandemic.
The North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber regions have the highest proportion of businesses falling into the categories of ‘accommodation & food services’ and ‘Arts, entertainment, recreation & other services’ in the whole of the UK according to Iwoca’s research, these categories have been marked by the ONS as the worst affected by the pandemic.
Iwoca’s track record in the North of England covers the above-mentioned £100m along with 3,000 small businesses customers, and in December 2019 the lender opened an office in Leeds to better support northern businesses.