A CHARITY is helping budding entrepreneurs in Wiltshire obtain finance to start their businesses.

The Fredericks Foundation helps people who have been turned down for funding by banks including the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, single parents and ethnic minorities.

Fredericks has operated in Wiltshire for three years and has made seven loans so far.

It moved into the Community Foundation’s office in Devizes earlier this year and manager Nynke Hunter wants to increase this number significantly.

She said: “There are fantastic people and ideas out there that just can’t get the funding through traditional routes.

“This is where Fredericks will really make a difference in Wiltshire.”

Loans given by Fredericks range from a few hundred pounds to £10,000 for a start-up. The average loan is £3,000 and is repaid within two to three years.

Fredericks charges an interest rate of 15 per cent which, while Mrs Hunter acknowledges is not the cheapest, said they are a last resort lender when banks have turned applications down.

Among those helped by Fredericks is Ellie Preston-Gill, of West Lavington.

Mrs Preston-Gill came to Fredericks 18 months ago having started the niche food business Plain Fresh, operating in farmers’ markets around the county.

Now she has launched a very successful Sunday market in Marlborough that attracts thousands of people. She is also heading a regeneration project in Trowbridge and has recently opened a project in Chippenham that supports small to medium-sized businesses operating in the Wiltshire region.

Fredericks was established 11 years ago and was set up by Paul Barry-Walsh, a successful entrepreneur who wanted to help aspirational would-be business runners.

John Bush, the former Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, is the chairman of Fredericks Wiltshire.

He said: “With youth unemployment continuing to rise as well as growing numbers of long-term unemployed, support is needed for those who have the ideas, drive and enterprise to start their own ventures.

“Many people run small and micro businesses in our county and with the launch of Fredericks Wiltshire we hope to help a lot more people realise their dream of financial independence and success and build a better future for themselves and their families.”

For more information contact www.fredericksfoundation.org/wiltshire or call Nynke Hunter on 01380 819089.