Co-founder Ben Hope, talks through the benefits of being able to use the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to keep his business going during the coronavirus outbreak.
Battersea Spanish is a Spanish language school and Spanish and Latin Cultural Centre in south-west London where we offer Spanish classes, dance courses and run a wide range of bilingual events. Our team of 12 instructors are typically freelance, with their hours changing from term-to-term.
All courses and events have historically taken place in a centre, which is no longer possible due to coronavirus. To continue supporting our customers, we have transformed our business, using digital learning materials and purchased web-conferencing subscriptions and run training for teachers to run classes virtually, including Spanish lessons and flamenco fitness.
We have been conscious of people’s changes in work conditions, the need to troubleshoot IT issues for learners, overcome bias towards technology, and make credits available to those who prefer to learn again when all of this is in the past.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
We accessed the CBILS through HSBC UK. We chose HSBC UK, because the centre was previously set to expand using their financial support to lease new premises giving the school additional classroom and studio space.
In recent weeks, we have been forced to put plans on hold and instead find alternative ways to provide our instructors with continued work and keep our 500 students engaged from home.
The CBILS has allowed us to secure a significant loan with a government guarantee.
It’s a low-risk option, with no fees, low interest, and no payments for a year. Not only does it provide us with bridge financing for the short-term, but it’s helping us prepare for a speedy recovery after the crisis is over.
The loan will also guarantee staff and contractor wages as well as business expenses for the next three months. It includes funds for our website redesign, allowing us to invest in new technology to support the delivery of online learning and virtual classes.
Also when we are able to reopen our doors, we will be able to continue with our original expansion plans in the area.
We also received Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) through Wandsworth Borough Council.
We’ve found the support we have received extremely valuable and the guidance from HMRC, as well as HSBC UK, has been clear and extremely calming in difficult times.
If you run a business and would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. It takes just minutes to complete and will help you easily find support for your business.