A major milestone has been reached with £25m worth of investment being given to support businesses in the Midlands.
The £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) was launched in late February last year in a bid to address regional imbalances in finance available to companies in the region.
Research from the British Business Bank in its Small Business Finance Market Report reported that only 4% of equity finance deals completed in 2017 were in Midlands firms – demonstrating a need to make finance markets work better for SMEs across the MEIF region.
The £25million invested so far, which includes £10million of private sector funds alongside finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, has supported more than 100 businesses, ranging from early stage technology start-ups to established manufacturing firms.
A diverse mix of firms have received finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. One highlight from its equity finance activity includes the Fund’s involvement in a multi-million-pound funding round for Coventry-based Arc Vehicle. Delivered by Mercia Fund Managers, this MEIF finance has allowed the engineering company to bring its technologically advanced electric motorcycle to market.
From its range of completed debt deals, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund injected £40,000 in GHO Pressings Ltd, located in Cannock. Provided by BCRS Business Loans, this finance is to be used to help the company create two jobs and purchase new tooling equipment as it seeks to increase sales by bringing its tooling arm in-house.
Delivered by the Government’s British Business Bank, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund forms part of a wider initiative to grow the region’s business community and local economy.
James Brokenshire MP, Communities Secretary and Ministerial Midlands Engine Champion, said: “The Midlands is home to a huge number of innovative and creative businesses, and schemes like the Midlands Engine Investment Fund are helping them grow.
“A thriving Midlands Engine is vital to our modern Industrial Strategy which is why we are backing business in the region to create high-value jobs for the long-term.
“I am determined the Midlands becomes an even better place to live and work, helps deliver an economy that works for everyone and harnesses the opportunities presented by leaving the European Union.”
Investments from the MEIF are made by one of six appointed fund managers working across the East, South-East Midlands and West Midlands – supported also by a network of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The £250million fund offers equity and debt investment between £25,000 to £2million.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “The success of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund to date is the result of a collective effort. Using the expertise of our fund managers and with the support of LEPs and intermediaries we are improving access to finance and making a huge impact at local level.
“The diverse nature of firms supported so far has been a key achievement for the Fund, from trailer manufacturers to university spin outs developing stem cell treatments, all receiving the finance they need to grow their businesses. This journey is only just beginning though, and we encourage businesses from across the region to enquire to see how an MEIF investment could support their ambitions.”
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 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.