Small businesses get a ‘Kickstart’ from BT

A new finance system has been announced by BT that will allow start up companies to lease equipment from the company for a value up to £15,000. The technology covered will be telecommunications as well as other technology offered by the company. The scheme is known as the ‘KickStart Scheme’ and is organised through a partnership BT has arranged with Shire Leasing. The option will be open to businesses under three years old who have been checked out to make sure they are credit worthy.

The scheme is being made available by BT Local Business and is intended to help small businesses raise more funds so that they can succeed in an economically difficult time. BT hopes that this will help small business as they won’t have to rely on credit cards or loans to get the equipment that they need.

The KickStart scheme offers a great deal of communications and technology to companies including business mobiles, handsets, business telephone systems, connection charges, IT equipment and software licences. It also helps businesses run their technology systems by offering  small business IT support. The underwriting of the lease scheme is very flexible and is hoped to be appealing to new companies. The scheme is open to all industries and the payment rates are very affordable. For example, a £3,000 loan will be repaid at a rate of £20 per week.

Declan McGlone, general manager of BT Finance, BT Business said: “The UK has an average of 270,000 start-up businesses every year. In light of the current economic climate we want to help these businesses access the products and services they need to get their new venture up and running. Our ‘KickStart Scheme’ offers finance over a fixed term, at a fixed rate, making it easier for customers to budget.”

One business that has already benefitted from a similar scheme with Shire Leasing is A.I. Global Media Ltd. The publishing company, established in November 2010, needed funding to purchase a technology and communications solution for its eight staff working on a new corporate finance publication.

Jane Peter, director, A.I. Global Media Ltd, said: “When starting out, it was crucial to launch the business in the most cost effective way possible. We needed to install a BT Versatility phone and broadband system, so that staff could work on the magazine straight away, but couldn’t afford any major spend.

The leasing scheme allowed us to get the equipment we needed at a fixed rate and also meant we keep what capital we had in the bank to ensure we had some cash flow. This scheme really helped us get our business off the ground and we now have over 53,000 subscribers to our magazine.”

Karina Knudsen, Head of Business Development at the British Chambers of Commerce also welcomed the launch: “The BCC has long called for more support for small businesses. Financing that specifically helps start and grow new ventures will considerably reduce the current credit difficulties that owners face.”

New and existing BT Business customers will be able to take up the ‘KickStart Scheme’ offers as long as they have been trading for under three years, subject to a credit check. For more information about ‘KickStart’ and other BT products and services, interested parties can contact BT Local Business at www.btlocalbusiness.co.uk.