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7 August 2011 | Adam Leach
British manufacturer Norton Motorcycles is the first SME to receive a loan from a government-backed scheme that will help it increase the amount it spends with its suppliers.
The Derbyshire-based company has received a loan of £625,000 from Santander, which will be guaranteed under the government’s Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (ExEFG).
This offers government guarantees to banks on loans that help small- and medium-sized enterprises enter the export market. It began operating on a pilot basis on 28 April and will be reviewed in October. It is one of several initiatives the coalition government is taking to increase support for SMEs.
The loan will enable Norton, which manufactures the Commando series of bikes, to follow through on plans to increase production to 1,000 motorcycles a year and boost activity for its largely British supply base.
As a company, Norton said it has showed a commitment to local procurement by sourcing 80 per cent of supplies from British companies.
Stuart Garner, chief executive of the company said: “This scheme will not only benefit Norton and the local area, but by supporting enterprising firms across the country it will help drive forward the British economy.”
He added: “The ExEFG scheme has enabled our business to grow rapidly to meet the demands of an ever-increasing international customer base.”
As part of its initiatives to help SMEs, the Cabinet Office recently completed a competition offering small businesses the chance to pitch directly to public sector buyers. The government has also called for contractors to ensure prompt payment to suppliers to stimulate cash flow throughout the supply chain.