After nearly 40 years of supporting SMEs across the UK, by asset funding their purchases, you get to see most situations. There have been many booms and several busts during that period and currently the messages from the media and parliament are that we might just miss a triple-dip recession.

All the while that we are being bombarded with “facts” about the economic health of the nation there are vast numbers of people getting on with running a business and employing staff, often with the impression that all the odds are stacked against them and no one is interested or cares. Not surprising when we hear about all the millions the government has handed to the banks but do you know any SMEs who have received a penny of it.

The current situation speaks volumes about the resilience of the British nature. Without any riots or banner waving in the streets, that we see in many parts of Europe, without the histrionics and moaning that wouldn’t be unreasonable, the phlegmatic British shopkeeper, restaurateur, manufacturer et al just gets on with serving or making and employing.

Day after day we are seeing great proposals from people throughout the UK who are asking for asset finance support for a new business. It may be a convenience store, a new gym, a franchised restaurant or garage or any number of businesses that are opening daily across the country.

Added to this we are constantly asked to support established businesses, many of whom we have assisted for decades.

We can celebrate that, in spite of a seemingly constant up-hill struggle, it’s not down to the politicians to get the Great back into Britain, it’s the hard working Brit and the people prepared to invest their savings to start businesses and create employment who will contribute far more to the future GREAT Britain.

With the value of shopping centre deals in the 1st quarter of 2013 being more than 50% higher than the whole of 2012, according to Savills, the current and future entrepreneurs in the retail sector are receiving a big boost of confidence.

We continue to see a pattern emerging of opportunities for SME retailers in the high streets of the UK and in our major shopping centres.

For the last few decades landlords have been focused on maximising rental incomes and in the strength of the covenants of their tenants. Now people understand the importance of filling empty premises, both in terms of revenue and in not having unsightly property that can quickly appear derelict.

It is only now that many retailers in the SME sector are coming to terms with the fact that banks will not / cannot support this sector.

Asset finance lenders are becoming seen as mainstream funders for all sections of commerce and industry.

With an attitude that speaks of willingness to support and a speed of service not seen for years, your high street entrepreneur now turns to asset finance first, frequently organising funding for the complete fit-out of his premises whilst retaining the bulk of his capital for stock and working funds. No longer do tomorrow’s shopkeepers have to wait weeks or months to be told by a bank that they are a bad risk or in a high-risk sector.

Today’s funders are helping to change the face of our town centres and bring much needed support, encouragement and a positive spirit so desperately needed by our economy.

May your glass be always full and your buns be perfect

In the 2013 Spring Budget the Government announced plans to help families pay for childcare from late 2015.

For many families the cost of childcare is crippling and a deciding factor in whether a parent is able to work.

By supporting owners of nurseries and children’s play centres, Armada have helped improve standards of care and safety for our youngest generations.

Many operators run pre-school collection and care systems together with after-school clubs and nursery facilities.

By funding the fit out of new premises for start-ups or existing operators Armada has helped to extend the number of facilities available and assisted in driving down costs. Our experience in this sector is extensive.

The availability and pricing of childcare now is vital, not talk of support in years to come. In a market economy the entrepreneur will always solve the problem while the politicians are still talking!

“Armada are positive & helpful. It reminds us of the old days.”
Steve Johnson. PLAY SHACK

Thanks to Richard Curtis, founder of Comic Relief, not only are efforts being made all over the country to raise money to bring about lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people, it brings about massive togetherness for the fundraisers and puts a smile on the face of Britain for at least one day in the year!

The Girls in Armada have been exercising their cooking skills for the cause and the chaps have been exercising their waistbands. Soon we shall hope to exercise our brains in the Red Nose Quiz. Fortunately nobody will be watching!

Without losing sight of the purpose of Red Nose Day we are having a ball and would recommend it to all.