From left: Nicola Harrop of Currie Young, James Russell, Steve Deakin and Neil Johnston, all from BCRS, and Andy Vigus of Currie Young

Loan provider BCRS Business Loans has been celebrated as a leading innovator with a prestigious award.

BCRS Business Loans, which provides funding to West Midlands businesses that are struggling to access finance from traditional lenders, was named as Innovation Thought Leader of the Year – Business at the Innovation Awards.

The award, presented to the team at a ceremony in Birmingham, recognised the work by BCRS to empower innovation in the West Midlands through finance and support.

Held annually, the Innovation Awards organisers say the event is staged to “recognise, celebrate and reward the businesses, organisations and individuals who are dedicated to innovation”.


BCRS Business Loans, which recently celebrated 21 years in business, works with SMEs unable to access finance from traditional sources, to enable them to secure loans from between £10,000 and £150,000 to support growth and recovery plans.

Since it was founded as a community development financial institution in 2002, it has provided loans worth more than £85 million to businesses across the West Midlands.

CEO Stephen Deakin said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our work in supporting West Midlands businesses to be innovative with this fantastic Innovation Thought Leader of the Year win.

“We believe no viable business should go unsupported, which is why we invest in SMEs which continue to build on the proud history of West Midlands innovation.

“As the preliminary round of the Innovation Awards is decided by a public vote, it means a lot to see combined efforts celebrated in this way.”

A recent social impact report for BCRS for the last financial year showed BCRS lent £6.5m to 72 businesses, safeguarding 999 jobs and creating 473 roles, adding £33.7m in value to the economy of the West Midlands and surrounding region.

The 2022/23 report showed 50 per cent of funding went to the UK’s top 35 per cent most disadvantaged areas, with 16 per cent going to female-led businesses and 14 per cent to ethnic minority-led firms.

The Innovation Awards were held at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham on October 27. After initial nominations, judges from leading organisations including NatWest, Legacy Centre of Excellence, Crowe, EY and MHA produce a shortlist of five finalists per category which go to a public online vote.