Investment Manager Sukhveer Chirrimar joined Finance For Enterprise in April 2019 after spending six years working with businesses helping them to raise funds in the Responsible Finance sector. Sukhveer is an experienced lender who helps and supports businesses in the Sheffield City Region and beyond.
Sukhveer is passionate about reaching out to businesses that require alternative finance to support them grow their businesses where mainstream lenders that might not or cannot help them.
- What is your role at Finance For Enterprise?
As an Investment Manager, my main role is to support growing and established business owners to unlock financial barriers they might be facing. The businesses that normally approach us are ones that have been unable to secure funding through traditional methods, as well as using funding as match funding to secure grants and to obtain funding quite quickly to help the business grow.
- What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I might sound like a cliché but genuinely the best bit about my job is being able to say ‘yes’ when a business applies for lending. In some cases, businesses approach us when they have been unable to secure funds from other lenders such as traditional high street banks.
There can be many reasons why banks choose not to lend to a business. Typically, loans are be refused when there is a limited trading history or few business assets which can be used as security or they feel the proposition is too risky. As an ethical and responsible lender, Finance For Enterprise spends time getting to know a business and the owners to get under the skin of the business to make the right decision. By supporting businesses and in many cases, this often results in helping to create or safeguard jobs, or enabling the business to invest in new equipment, helping to improve efficiency.
There is no better feeling than being able to help a business when other institutions are unable to support their growth plans – It’s something I feel very passionate about.
- What did you do before joining Finance For Enterprise?
I’ve worked in the financial services sector for most of my career. After leaving university I began my career in the banking sector where I specialised in wealth management working for one of the world’s largest banks in London. After this I moved back to Birmingham and I gained an opportunity working in a bank specialising in foreign currencies. Whilst working in this bank the organisation set up their arm of business banking which I took an interest into.
By taking that interest in business banking my wife and I decided to move to the East Midlands where an opportunity arose to join an alternative lending provider based in the East Midlands, I jumped at the chance to expand my knowledge in the finance sector. I have learnt a lot from and getting the exposure and gaining vital experience.
Having worked in the sector for a number of years, when an opportunity arose to join the Finance For Enterprise team, I saw it as a chance of being able to use my skills and experience to help more SMEs access the lending they need to succeed, and broadening my knowledge.
- Can you tell us about a deal you are particularly proud of?
Although I’m relatively new in post at Finance For Enterprise, I have had the privilege to work with a number of businesses over the number of years whilst working for my old organisation and when I moved to Finance For Enterprise, for me securing my first lending deal was a very proud moment!
I was approached by a working men’s club based in Mansfield Woodhouse which wanted to secure the funds needed to refurbish it’s interior which had become quite outdated and unfit for purpose. After going through the documents and paperwork it was a proud moment to say yes to the club secretary to grant them funding for the re-fit.
The club has been a part of the local community for more than one hundred years and as a result of the lending I was able to help them secure, it will continue to play an important role in the local community for many more years to come.
- What has been your career highlight to date?
Looking back over my career, one of the best moments came earlier this year when I was awarded the title of Outstanding Loan Officer of the Year at the 2019 Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards.
The award was presented to me in recognition of the number of business loans I was able to help businesses secure, but perhaps more importantly the economic impact the loans provided – resulting in jobs being created. An important aspect of the awards was lending responsibly and ethically. Winning the award was a huge honour and an unforgettable experience.
- What was your first job?
I grew up in a family-run business environment, so from a very early age I would help my parents to earn pocket money. My parents ran a clothing manufacturing business. After school we would help in the family business and at weekends, we would travel to various markets throughout the West Midlands to sell the products we manufactured by selling to customers directly and by wholesale to other business owners.
Weekends always involved early starts and lots of travelling. I enjoyed helping in the family business however, when I turned sixteen, I decided to take a Saturday job for a retailer in the city centre.
Those early experiences fuelled my interest in business and helped me to understand many of the challenges that businesses face.
- Do you have any hobbies?
We have an eight-year-old son who is very active and who’s growing up very quickly, he is fanatical about anything and everything. This involves me to be a taxi driver to take him everywhere.
We are both avid football fans and we both support Liverpool Football Club. We have been several times to the games at Anfield however, we do not get to go to the games as often as we like.
Our weekends we try to fit in everything in from martial arts, swimming and quick cricket matches, which leaves me exhausted.
Also, friends and family are just as important, I often find myself travelling to various parts of the country for weddings and birthday parties.
To be honest, our son has more of a social life than we do!
- Tea of Coffee?
Neither! – I prefer cold drinks than hot ones, but I always like to start my day with a coffee on my way into the office.
- Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Yes, my family and my colleagues will tell you that I love my gadgets. However, the biggest guilty pleasure I have and if I can fit it in, is going to the cinema. A few of us friends meet up every weekend and watch a film.
- What was your favourite subject at school?
I always looked forward to business studies. I think it was my parent’s family business which perhaps inspired me, but I used to enjoy learning about the many different aspects of running a business and asking my dad about how they related to the company he ran.
- What is still on your “to do” list?
A few years ago, I visited America for the first time. I’d like to go back and spend a bit more time visiting friends and family in the US and I would love to explore more of what it has to offer.
- What advice would you give to someone who is considering a business loan?
For new entrepreneurs, I would say that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Trust your instincts and spend time researching your ideas. There’s lots of support and advice out there, be sure to make sure you get the right advice at the right time.
For businesses thinking about applying for lending, spend time carefully scrutinising and reviewing your business plan. This will not only help you to understand the impact of any lending on the business, but also ensures that you are asking for the right amount.
We are more than happy for any customer to pick up the phone and having a simple chat to explore the idea, the funding options and what support mechanisms are available as we have close links with the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS).