Outset and Fredericks Foundation announce strategic partnership

Many new entrepreneurs and SMEs, especially at the micro-to-small end of the spectrum, meet a major barrier to advancing their business plans when they try to access finance.

A new partnership between YTKO Group’s award-winning Outset programme and Fredericks Foundation will help ambitious new entrepreneurs prepare for and access finance successfully. Using their joint skills and expertise, they will help start-ups and existing businesses unlock their potential to make a real and valuable contribution to economic recovery in the UK.

The Outset service supports disadvantaged and under-represented clients in inner cities, coastal, rural and other deprived communities, to explore, start and grow sustainable businesses. Fredericks Foundation was established to provide small loans and mentoring for disadvantaged people who want to start their own businesses as a route, sometimes the only one available, to financial independence.

With services that include pre-start, start-up, investment readiness, post-start sustainability and growth support, through training, one-to-one coaching, mentoring and peer communities, it is easy to see how Outset seamlessly integrates with Fredericks Foundation’s ability to provide clients with finance, mentoring and ongoing development.

A recent example of this synergy in action is joint clients Joe Wadge and Becca Speare. Both under 25 years old and keen to be new entrepreneurs, Joe and Becca were left devastated after being told they would receive £21,500 funding to set up their business, but then being turned down by their bank. According to Becca, this decision held starting their business back by 6 months. Looking for a way to overcome their barriers and achieve their dream of running a restaurant, they joined the Outset programme in 2012. “A combination of having a strong belief in the welfare of animals and a huge passion for food, we really wanted to start our own business and open a restaurant of our own.” Becca said.

Joe Wadge and Becca Speare

The pair were assigned to a specialist Outset financial advisor who helped them create a more robust business plan and a strong financial proposition, making them investment ready. Joe and Becca were then referred to Fredericks Foundation and others for funding. Their pitches were so successful that they were able to raise £15,500 towards their venture – finally they could realise their entrepreneurial potential!

Fredericks Client Manager Annie Popham said: “It was clear that Joe and Becca had prepared thoroughly for their funding pitch through the help of the Outset team’s investment readiness process. As a result, all the questions asked by our Lending Hub panel were answered clearly and knowledgeably, so it was an easy decision for us to offer them finance.”

As a result of the partnership between Outset and Fredericks, Joe and Becca have just launched the Samphire Brasserie, a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Plymouth. They have also already taken on two more members of staff.

Becca said: “The workshops and coaching gave us the support and confidence we needed to believe in our idea. We truly don’t believe our dream would have become a reality if it wasn’t for Outset and Fredericks Foundation”.

In the last three years alone, Outset and sister-operation Outset Finance have helped to create more than £2.3m GVA, unlocking more than £1.2m of business finance – and saving more than £1.2m on unemployment benefits.

“Together, Outset and Fredericks Foundation bridge a critical barrier for both new and established businesses” says YTKO Groups’s Director of Enterprise, Lee Hughes.

“It is very easy to criticise the banks, for what are often perceived as unfriendly, zero-risk policies on SME lending. But they are not completely at fault, as start-ups and young businesses often lack the experience to de-risk their plans or demonstrate robust investment-readiness. That’s off-putting for any lender or investor.”

From Community Development Finance (CDFIs) and Regional Growth Funds, through mainstream banking to private equity and other alternative sources of capital, reducing risk and demonstrating sustainability is a vital component of investment-readiness – and woven into the philosophies that both Outset and Fredericks share.

With the combined skills, credentials and resources to access a broad range of funding and develop investment-readiness among start-ups and expanding businesses alike, Outset and Fredericks’ new partnership delivers a proven and scalable model, with evidence that spans a decade and easily outstrips the national average. This increases the return on investment in a job creation or business support service for LEPs, local authorities, DWP, BIS and other government departments.

“Identifying and supporting businesses with the ambition and potential to create sustain growth is built into what Outset and Fredericks do every day,” concludes Lee.

“This partnership is exciting because it inspires confidence on every level. By working together, Outset and Fredericks Foundation open a powerful channel to private sector growth in the UK.”