West One Loans Kicks off Dominic Matteo Soccer Academy

  • Academy to  receive start-up loan for 12 month term
  • 100 secondary-school  aged children to receive coaching in first month

West One Loans has arranged a short-term secured loan to support the development of the Dominic Matteo Football Academy, a small business set up in Leeds by the former Liverpool defender and Leeds United Captain.

The Academy will give keen secondary school football players the chance to be coached by former England and Scotland international footballer Dominic Matteo at a variety of locations in Leeds.

Dominic is already coaching 80 promising youngsters and expects the Academy to be running at full capacity by July, when it will offer up to 100 places on its summer football courses. After being turned down by mainstream banks, Dominic turned to alternative finance for a lifeline and was able to arrange a privately funded loan via West One Loans’ peer-to-peer lending scheme and introducers Intelligent Loans.

Duncan Kreeger, director at West One Loans, comments: “Every week we see reports that businesses are struggling for mainstream finance.  This example makes things all the more real.  It’s a shocking example of a solid business plan that was simply rejected by mainstream lenders.

“But now, peer-to-peer finance has enabled an economically sound business to get off the ground. It’s an uplifting business that will really benefit the local community.”

Many teenagers only receive around two hours of sport each week as part of their school timetable, meaning that increasing numbers of aspiring young footballers are turning to extra-curricular clubs and training sessions to improve their game. The Dominic Matteo Football Academy offers a year-round facility, taking groups of aspiring footballers to indoor and outdoor facilities to practice in a variety of different settings.

Dominic Matteo, former England and Scotland international, Liverpool defender and former captain of Leeds United comments: “Projects like this are a great way for sportspeople to get involved with the next generation.  Hundreds of kids are going to get a chance to stretch their game to another level.  But we all need the right equipment to play at the top of our game.  With busy school schedules – and the British weather – that means indoor facilities are vital for quality coaching.  We need to offer a year round facility, with all the right equipment.

“However, just like so many small businesses, we were turned away by the mainstream banks.  No business can get started without basic finance.  Now, with this loan, I can really look forward to doing what I do best and, as an academy, offering a seriously competitive package.  We’ve already got 80 really promising youngsters signed up, and the few remaining spaces are really filling up fast.”

This is the latest example in a long line of small businesses that have been able to get started with the help of alternative finance. According to a poll of financial intermediaries, business loans by alternative lenders have significantly outpaced mainstream commercial finance in the last twelve months. Bank of England figures released in April showed a 5.2% drop in mainstream business loans in Q1 2013. Meanwhile, financial intermediaries reported a 16% quarterly growth in short-term commercial loans secured against real estate assets, according to a recent survey of 350 brokers carried out by West One Loans. This expansion brings commercial alternative lending to a new record high.

Alun Winter, director of financial introducers Intelligent Loans, comments: “Dominic approached us with a fantastic project, and an incredible problem.  It’s a great business plan, with really unique selling point.  But sadly we weren’t surprised when all that was overlooked by the high street lenders and their system-led, overly prescriptive ways of making decisions.  We have a close working relationship with West One Loans and we knew they would find it an irresistible loan opportunity and that proved to be the case. The results of avoiding the mainstream lenders speak for themselves.”


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