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Commercial Funding Company Launched In Canterbury

Monday 11 October 2004

New Commercial Funding Company Launched In Canterbury

One of the biggest challenges facing small and growing Kiwi businesses is sourcing funding to develop products, markets and infrastructure but a new Canterbury based firm may answer some prayers with its new business model.

The father and son team of Noel and Kent Gillman are the founders of Priority Finance. Noel is a well-known Christchurch businessman who was the founder of Gillman Real Estate before selling the company in 2000. After 6 years in Europe Kent has returned with his family to help develop and establish this innovative business model. He brings to the team experience and know-how gained in a consulting capacity across a broad range of industries for globally recognized companies such as the BBC, Sony and News Corp.

They are joined by Christchurch businessman and owner of Drinnan Engineering, Grant Drinnan who brings practical and grass roots business expertise to the team.

Priority Finance has today [Monday 11 October] advertised the release of it’s first round of funding. The first round offers $1,000,000 to use for commercial packages ranging from $20 000 upwards for businesses with growth potential. Some of the uses of the funding could include: Business start-ups Business expansions Purchase of existing business Or purchase of a new franchise Purchase of equipment or other business assets Market and product development Working capital and seasonal funding requirements

“Our initial investigations clearly show that attracting commercial funding without resorting to last-resort lenders is a major barrier to growth for many small and medium businesses. The reality is that mainstream banks are also intimidating and have conservative lending policies. Priority Finance provides another option and we’re putting our money where our mouths are and investing our own funds,” says Noel Gillman.

“We have developed a model which we believe is a first in New Zealand. We solely specialise in business finance and are more than just a funding source. Our objective is to work with these growing businesses to implement strategies to improve and strengthen their business in the long-term. With the funding packages comes our business experience and a practical approach. Managing growth is difficult particularly if you don’t have the budgets to employ external consultants as well.”

“You constantly hear stories of firms that went to a bank, got a resounding NO, then became successful and had the banks knocking on their door. We want to work with firms at the grassroots and be part of their future.”

Kent Gillman has developed the application and due diligence process and says many growing businesses simply don’t know where to start – they have a basic plan but need guidance to take the next step.

“We will look at the potential and not just assess the business on an asset-based lending criteria as required by most of the traditional financial institutions. There is less emphasis on what they don’t have – e.g. security – and more emphasis on what they do have such as good cash flows and quantifiable intangibles like their customer base, character and strong management. It is riskier from our perspective but could provide major win-win situations for everyone in the long-term.”

Businesses and firms are already approaching the Priority Finance team and they’re in no doubt that their innovative approach in a conservative lending environment is the answer to the prayers of many small and medium business owners.


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