Loan fund supports rural firm

A loan from Co-operative & Community Finance has supported the creation of a business centre which will provide small businesses in a remote Cornish community with professional office...

Rame Business Centre is a new venture of Point Europa — which is a training and education charity providing a range of services including international youth projects, community support and childcare, operating in the Rame Peninsula in south east Cornwall.  

Point Europa was founded in 2004 and has built up in-depth, long-term partnerships across Europe. It currently employs 34 people. Although much of its funding comes from grants, it has been developing a number of new ventures to increase income from sales. 

Point Europa recently set up the business centre to provide basic office services for local businesses, such as phone answering, book keeping and training. The centre is expected to be fully open by the end of July. 

Loans from Co-operative & Community Finance provided the working capital needed to get the business centre up and running while Point Europa awaits some grant funding. 

“Our business centre is all about offering local support,” Point Europa’s general manager, Simon Ryan, explained. “In our village there is a population of about 900, and this is what Rame Business Centre addresses — rural isolation and the ability to link services to each other. Everybody we work with is local. 

“We will be working on building relationships between local businesses and enable these smaller organisations to have more of a chance in industries where bigger businesses may have otherwise dominated — such as in the housing maintenance sector. We provide contactability, for example, answering services while owners are out on jobs. 

“Co-operative & Community Finance did what banks wouldn’t — they looked at what we were doing as a business, and saw how the business centre will benefit as a community organisation, rather than merely looking at our potential profit margins.” 

Ian Taylor from Co-operative & Community Finance added: “I found Point Europa to be a place of real innovation. It is a social enterprise with its roots in co-operation — a business with strong potential whose ideas could be replicated throughout the UK.”

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