The British Business Bank (BBB) has launched its £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), with a mix of debt and equity finance now available to the Shropshire business community, as well as the wider West, East and South-East Midlands region.
Signifying its importance to local businesses, the BBB collaborated with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership in hosting an official briefing event at the Telford Innovation Campus, informing business representatives of the new funding on offer via the government backed initiative.
Showcasing the MEIF’s ambition to fast-track business growth across the Midlands, guests heard from the fund managers responsible for delivering the MEIF on how different types of finance can be used to help accelerate business growth.
Speaking after the event Gill Hamer, Marches LEP Director, said:
“We have more than 29,000 businesses here in the Marches and a strong entrepreneurial spirit but access to finance is a challenge, with a lack of investment on offer to our SMEs.
“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is much welcomed to support SME growth and expansion plans. We were delighted to have the fund managers at this event to brief business intermediaries and look forward to seeing them at future business support events across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.”
Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer, British Business Bank, said:
“The recent British Business Bank’s Small Business Finance Market report revealed significant regional imbalances in the supply of equity finance across the UK. We believe there is a major opportunity to increase the supply of equity finance in the Midlands, and to enhance the growth ecosystem.
“The launch of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund will help to grow the region’s access to funds to support its economic potential and collective talent.”
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Housing Secretary and Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine, said:
“The Midlands Engine already boasts over 14 per cent of the UK’s high-growth businesses and its economy is worth more than £230 billion – larger than countries like Denmark.
We want to harness its huge potential and help give small firms across the Midlands that much-needed boost to grow their business.
“Ensuring every part of the UK can play to its strengths and spread prosperity is central to our Industrial Strategy, and this fund will not only generate jobs to benefit the entire Midlands but, ultimately, the British economy.”
The MEIF will invest in equity finance through appointed Fund Managers:
- Midven Ltd will operate a Venture Fund focusing on the West Midlands
- Foresight Group LLP, will run a similar fund focused on the East & South-East Midlands
- Mercia Fund Managers will run a Proof of Concept and Early Stage Equity Fund addressing the whole of the Midlands.
The equity finance will join the £120m of Loan Funds launched in August 2017. These are made up of:
- Small Business Loans Funds operated in the West Midlands by BCRS Business Loans Ltd
- Larger Debt Finance fund operated across the whole of the Midlands by Maven Capital Partners UK LLP.
For more information on the funding available, please visit www.meif.co.uk.
The MEIF 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 2014-2020, the European Investment Bank and the British Business Bank.