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ART Business Loans

Social performance

ART exists to boost enterprise and the regional economy, by helping to ensure that businesses can access the finance they need to flourish. Some of these businesses are social enterprises, meaning that ART is helping them to achieve their diverse social objectives.

Social Purpose

ART focuses its lending to create and preserve jobs, in particular to those who have been traditionally deprived of opportunities, for example, enterprises geographically located in areas of disadvantage or led by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, women or disabled individuals. At least 75% of the businesses that ART lends to fall into these categories.

Unlike the wider alternative finance sector, which has grown significantly in terms of the number of new providers over the last 10 years, ART offers an additional source of finance to the banks. All ART loans are provided after a bank lending decision decline. ART specifically targets underserved areas and communities. That is why investments in ART may qualify for Community Investment Tax Relief, which seeks to prioritise access to finance for underserved communities in terms of geography, gender, age, ethnicity or disability.

Key Social Performance Indicators (KSPIs)

KSPIs are a measure of how the business is performing on delivering its main social or environmental purpose. Read more

KSPI 1 - Monies Lent

Since launch in 1997, ART has lent over £25m. ART’s average loan size is currently around £35,000 (with an average term of 54 months), a sum that often makes a significant difference to small and medium sized businesses, but which can be particularly hard for them to access from many other finance providers.

KSPI 2 - Businesses Supported

ART has lent to more than 1,300 businesses since 1997 that may have grown more slowly, or even ceased to trade, because they couldn’t obtain the finance they needed from anywhere else.

Investors should note that ART has reduced its lending to start-up businesses, as most businesses under 18 months old are now served by the Government’s Start-up loan scheme at soft loan rates, which is a more appropriate form of finance for them. ART refers potential borrowers to providers of that service.

KSPI 3 - Jobs created/safeguarded

Since 1997, businesses lent to by ART have safeguarded or created in excess of 7,250 jobs.

Increasing Impact

The type of finance provided by ART is needed as much now as it was 21 years ago. In recent years, ART has been able to increase its annual lending and consequently its impact. With more funding, it could support even more businesses.

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