Posted: Wed 2nd Nov 2022
The South West Investment Fund, a £200m scheme from the British Business Bank, will launch in the first half of 2023 as the first of several funds aimed at closing finance gaps faced by firms across the UK.
First announced in the government's October 2021 autumn Budget, the south west fund, which covers Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, will provide loans from £25,000 to £2m and equity investment up to £5m.
The British Business Bank said the aim is to "tackle an identified funding gap across the South West and increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for smaller businesses".
Similar funds are in the planning stages for Wales (£130m), Scotland (£150m) and Northern Ireland (£70m), along with follow-on funds for the Midlands Engine Investment Fund in the Midlands and the North Powerhouse Investment Fund in the North of England.
Commenting on the South West Investment fund, the British Business Bank's Ken Cooper said:
"It will increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for smaller businesses in the region, providing finance for firms that might otherwise not receive investment and helping to break down barriers in access to finance.
"The levels of private debt lending and equity investment in the South West are significantly below what we would expect given the region's share of the UK’s smaller business population. That's something the new fund will tackle by backing ambitious businesses to drive sustainable economic growth."
The British Business Bank is currently inviting proposals from potential fund managers to operate the South West Investment Fund.