Entrepreneur of the Year entrant – Tom Wilkinson

Entrepreneur of the Year entrant – Tom Wilkinson
Posted on 06.06.23
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Entrepreneur of the Year entrant – Tom Wilkinson

Former corporate banker Tom Wilkinson launched his own business after spotting a niche in the market due to changes in the way banks operate.

Tom, from Alton, started Beta Commercial Finance in 2017 to support businesses with their growth plans.

“In the past many company directors would have had a regular relationship with a business bank manager, perhaps based at their local branch,” said Tom.

“That’s rare in 2023 and we believe Beta fills that gap, with the added advantage of being able to search the whole of the market and find solutions from more than one lender. By building relationships with the lenders, we can negotiate the best pricing and funding packages.

“We pride ourselves in being able to find solutions for companies where the traditional lenders (the banks) may not. There’s a critical need for commercial lending solutions as many High Street banks no longer provide business managers for clients and have become more risk adverse since the 2008 global recession and the recent pandemic.”

Over the past 12 months Tom and his team of five have issued total funds of £23,912,90 million, around 60% of which was to businesses based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

He estimates that he and the team have helped to create or sustain around 85 full-time jobs over that same time period.

A diverse range of projects have benefited from Tom’s knowledge and ability to problem solve. An early deal saw Beta work with Cheadle-based Hewitt & Carr to develop the Daisy Bank House business centre and, more recently, Beta brokered a complex finance deal to support the purchase of the historic Eagle Works in Stoke-on-Trent as a headquarters for C2 Construction.

Beta’s projects come in all shapes and sizes and, while working across the UK, Tom is keen to support local people in business, for example earlier this year he helped Alton’s village shopkeeper Simon Heaton to purchase his Londis store, which serves as a vital resource for local residents.

Tom leads his team in supporting good causes. Beta sponsored Leek Town Girls Under-14s football team and Tom raised £550 for Cancer Research by competing 100 push-ups a day in November 2022. This year the Beta the team has signed up to complete a marathon walk in the Peak District in aid of Macmillan.

Tom chairs Alton’s community pub, the White Hart, which is now thriving as a Community Interest Company. He led the fight against closure in 2014, masterminding the fundraising that allowed the community group to buy the pub and allotments. The CIC ensured the White Hart remained at the heart of village life through the pandemic and consistent investment has led to the development of a new bar, B&B rooms and a holiday apartment.

Tom Wilkinson has entered the Entrepreneur of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.

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