A SOCIAL enterprise group is celebrating 15-years of supporting businesses and reaching a milestone lending figure of £70m.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which has offices in Billingham, Bradford, Leeds, Goole and Manchester, specialises in providing responsible and flexible finance to start-up businesses and SMEs across the North East, Yorkshire and, most recently, the North West.

It focuses on those which are making a positive social impact in their communities.

BEF chief executive Steve Waud, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have reached £70m of lending in our 15th year – we have also just celebrated a record month of lending for this year, with £1.15m loaned to start ups and SMEs across our districts throughout October. "

In the current financial year, BEF has completed 268 deals and helped to start 214 UK businesses.