Cosford finance event hailed a flyaway success

March 29, 2023

More businesses from across the Marches have been urged to take advantage of a £300million funding programme to help them grow at a hugely successful event.

Around 60 people attended the event – staged by the British Business Bank and the Marches LEP at the RAF Museum at Cosford – to hear about the range of different funding options available to businesses.

Marches LEP chief executive Rachel Laver said the event had been a great success and showed the amount of support which was still available to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The event focused on funding available through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) – a collaboration between the British Business Bank and 10 regional LEPs including the Marches – which provides commercially focussed finance through small business loans, debt finance, proof of concept and equity finance funds.

Rachel said: “One of the constant themes we hear when we are talking to businesses is how difficult it can be for them to access the finance they need to thrive and grow just when they need it.

“The British Business Bank has a long track record of providing commercially-focussed finance for small businesses and it was particularly helpful to hear direct from some of their fund managers about the huge range of options available to business and the success stories they have enjoyed.

“We want as many businesses as possible across the Marches to take advantage of some of the finance options that MEIF can provide so that they can realise their own ambitions to grow and create new jobs.

“The feedback we had from the audience in the room at Cosford was excellent and I am delighted we were able to bring together so many experts at such a wonderful venue.”

Tracy Sherratt, senior manager for the West Midlands at the British Business Bank, told the audience that £4.8million had been invested to date across the Marches by the bank.

“We’re keen to ensure smaller businesses from the Marches receive the funding they need to grow and therefore should consider the funding options available through the MEIF.”

Tracy and Rachel were joined by Marches LEP access to finance champion Paul Kalinauckas and MEIF fund managers Andrew Hustwit, head of business development for BCRS, Ryan Cartwright, investment manager at the FSE Group, and Huw Sparkes, investment manager at Midven.

The event was part of an access to finance campaign being run by the Marches LEP and its business support arm the Marches Growth Hub, which has helped 4,150 businesses in the first half of 2022/23 alone.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2022 and the European Investment Bank.

The British Business Bank is owned by but independent of the government. It aims to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to help smaller businesses to become net zero by helping them to access finance.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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