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Midlands Engine £250M Fund on roadshow rollout

Midlands Engine £250M Fund on roadshow rollout

🕔21.Mar 2018

300 business leaders and financial experts gathered at Millennium Point yesterday for the Midlands Finance & Investment Summit in the latest stage of the roadshow to promote the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, reports Kevin Johnson.

The Summit was run by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), British Business Bank (BBB) and UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA).

The Summit featured a breakfast briefing with the BBB to raise awareness of the new £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). The Fund will provide debt and equity finance worth up to £2M for growing small businesses across the Midlands.

MEIF, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2M, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.

The Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations) which sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level.

The Fund was also promoted at the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Annual Conference, staged at the West Bromwich Albion football ground earlier today.

Tim Pile, Chair of GBSLEP, opened the Summit with a keynote address. GBSLEP also launched its Access to Finance service at the Summit, which is designed to help SMEs become investment ready, by linking them to funders and regional professional advisor networks via new sector experts.

Saqib Bhatti, Director for Growing Businesses and representing SMEs at GBSLEP, commented:

Working with national organisations like the UKBAA and BBB is vital in providing our local businesses with the best opportunities to grow.

With access to finance one of the key requirements for any business to realise its full potential, an event like this provides essential advice and guidance to complement the service on offer at GBSLEP’s Growth Hub.

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.

Jenny Tooth OBE, Chief Executive of UK Business Angels Association, said:

Many entrepreneurs across the Midlands have been failing to access the financial support they need to effectively grow and scale their business, and our research has shown that over 70% of Angel investment went to entrepreneurs in London and the South East last year.

We are delighted to be working with the new MEIF Funds through the British Business Bank and the Access to Finance initiative of GBSLEP to help make this ambition a reality for this vibrant region.

Main pic: (l-r) Joel Blake OBE (GBSLEP) Jenny Tooth OBE (UK Business Angels Association) Professor Mark Hart (Aston Business School)

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