Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey invests £2m in Birmingham-based non-profit lender for small businesses

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Dorsey’s tech company Block, Inc. is investing £2m into a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) in Birmingham to boost small businesses and entrepreneurs

Co-founder and former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey has backed a Birmingham-based not-for-profit lender.

Dorsey’s tech company Block, Inc. is investing £2mn into ART Business Loans - a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) which provides business loans in the West Midlands, accoring to Financial Times. CDFI’s are vital for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are not able to use traditional means of securing capital.

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ART Business Loans provide loans between 10,000 and 150,000 to businesses in the West Midlands, according to their website.

The company said on its website: “Our loans can be used for any business purpose, including asset purchase or working capital. We lend alone, or alongside banks or other financiers, and we are able to signpost you to independent Business Finance specialists for advice if required. We take a personal approach to assessing applications and can make money available quickly if necessary.”

ART is headed by Dr. Steve Walker, its chief executive and director since its launch in 1997. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2007 by the University of Birmingham for services to enterprise and access to finance. In 2016 he became also an honorary research fellow at the University. He was named Responsible Finance Leader of the year at the 2018 Citi Microentrepeneurship Awards in March 2018.

How ART helps small businesses

They have helped multiple small businesses in the region, including a Yoga business in Birmingham. ART Business Loans helped Victoria Lawton, who runs a Yoga cabin in Moseley Park. Less than two years after she opened IamYogi, the pandemic hit and she diversified her offering to her teachers and students alike.

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Now, she runs Yoga workshops and Yoga classes, and have a good following via their LIVE and on-demand online classes.

They have also helped the current owners of La Delicia, an independent coffee shop, in Balsall Common to purchase the space and refurb it.

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