New Midlands Engine Investment Fund
The new £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund – a collaboration between British Business Bank and the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships – will contribute to efforts to rebalance the UK economy across the regions. Focused on the Midlands’ 460,000 smaller businesses, this initiative builds further regional momentum, following on from the announcement of the new £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund at the 2015 Autumn Statement.
Help to Grow
The pilot Help to Grow programme, announced by the Prime Minister last year and now expanded to up to £200m, is expected to support high-growth UK businesses seeking investment of between £500,000 and £2 million. We will be launching the first transaction in the coming months and, if it is successful, it will be rolled out to support efforts to provide up to £1bn of lending over the course of this parliament.
Enterprise Finance Guarantee
As well as new measures being introduced, British Business Bank have also received confirmation that their flagship loans guarantee programme, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, will be extended to at least March 2018 to support over £250m of lending per year. The programme helps small businesses that might not get the loan they need because of a lack of sufficient collateral or a track record.
Also in the Budget, the Chancellor announced the government’s intention to designate Bizfitech, Funding Options and Funding Xchange as finance platforms under the SME Finance Platform regulations, following advice from the British Business Bank. These platforms will match smaller businesses that have been declined for finance by designated banks with alternative finance providers to help them access the finance they need to grow and expand. It is a big step forward in the progression of a major reform to the smaller business lending market.