Region: East of England
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Already enduring cashflow issues due to uncertainty around Brexit, skylight company Sunsquare faced even tougher times with the COVID-19 shutdown. Applying to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for financial support was the difference between securing jobs and continuing to trade and closing down the business altogether.
Read what the company had to say in this CBILS case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your company does?
Justin Seldis, managing director of Sunsquare: We design and manufacture high-specification bespoke flat-roof skylights for domestic and commercial properties.
The coronavirus has affected a huge number of businesses across the UK. What problems were you facing as a result of the outbreak and what made you apply for CBILS support?
On the back of a very tough year in our industry due to issues around Brexit, we were running pretty low when it came to cashflow. COVID-19 literally shut us down, and without being able to pay suppliers and general bills, our finances would’ve been dire to unworkable.
How long did the application process take? Did you need any support?
The application process took around a month, but we had full support from the team at NatWest throughout.
For us, the loan has been game-changing. It allows us the breathing space we need to reopen without the constant threat of financial ruin. This is certainly one of the more important facilities that I’ve been able to access in 30 years of running businesses.
Justin Seldis, managing director of Sunsquare
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a CBILS loan?
Don’t be too proud, even if, like Sunsquare, you’ve been debt-free for a long time (over a decade, in our case). It’s vital that you use this facility before it’s too late for it to make a difference.
How has the CBILS loan helped your business to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received it?
For us, it’s been game-changing. The loan will give us the breathing space to open up as a business again without the constant threat of financial ruin. No business can survive without income or significant savings, and many have no savings at all. This is certainly one of the more important facilities that I’ve been able to access in 30 years of running businesses.
Without the loan, I’m very sorry to say that we’d have had to look at laying off employees rather than furloughing them, and it’s likely that the business wouldn’t have survived this pandemic.