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Downtown in Business member ART Business Loans (ART) has been named Small Business Company of the Year by national publication Business & Industry Today.

The Award recognises the contribution ART has made to access to finance for small businesses in the West Midlands over 20 years and its pioneering Community Share Offer launched this year to raise additional money to lend from social investors.

Chief Executive of ART, Dr Steve Walker says: “We lend where banks are unable to meet the full needs of small businesses and social enterprises.  Although the world is a very different place to when we started in 1997, demand for our kind of finance has grown and our share offer, through which we raised over £250,000, was part of plan to achieve further growth of our own to meet that demand.”

ART now has £3million to lend this year, which will support the West Midlands economy by allowing businesses to access the finance they need to survive challenging conditions, grow and diversify.  “Our focus in on helping underserved groups, or areas, and on job creation and preservation,” says Steve.

A further Community Share Offer, open to individuals and companies, is scheduled for later in the year.  The offer will provide investors with a financial and social return including 5% of the amount invested as a deduction off the investor’s Income Tax or Corporation Tax bill each year for five years using Community Investment Tax Relief.

For further information see ART’s website: www.artbusinessloans.co.uk/invest-in-art

You can find out more about how CITR works at www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-investment-tax-relief-citr.