BUSINESSES refused finance by their banks can get their hands on loans of up to \u00A3200,000 from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA). EEDA has loan programmes in place to help businesses looking to borrow between \u00A3500 and \u00A3200,000 for start-up and growth. Regional businesses whose funding applications have been refused by the banks can apply for a Small Loan for Business, which offers between \u00A3500 and \u00A350,000. Alternatively, EEDA's Regional Growth Loan can provide up to \u00A3200,000 for small to medium-sized businesses that have a real potential for long-term growth and a workable business proposition. The news comes on the back of the Federation for Small Businesses' criticism of UK banking for small businesses (see last week's Hunts Post Business News bulletin) and the FSB's call for alternative sources of finance to be provided locally. Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said: "Business owners often think that they have nowhere to turn if they are refused credit from the banks, but that's not true. Here at EEDA, we are offering loans with flexible repayment terms to businesses with viable business plans - businesses which may be seen as just too risky for banks to support in the current climate." EEDA is also providing a helping hand to companies unsure of their funding or finance needs through a programme called Understanding Finance for Business. Delivered by St John's Innovation Centre, it has been designed specifically to prepare companies for raising finance - whether through a bank, venture capitalist, business angel or even public-sector grant funding. INFORMATION: To find out more about regional loans and grants, or to register for the Understanding Finance for Business programme, visit www.eeda.org.uk\/finance.