The British Business Bank will today launch the £200m South West Investment Fund aimed at fostering growth and prosperity for small businesses across the South West of England.
The South West Investment Fund (SWIF) will provide much-needed funding to small and medium sized businesses across the whole South West region, covering Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire.
The fund will increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for new and growing smaller businesses for various purposes, such as expansion, product or service innovation, and new processes, skills or capital equipment. It will offer a range of commercial finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investment up to £5 million.
SWIF is the first in a series of six new Nations and Regions Investment Funds being launched by the British Business Bank, the government-owned business development bank. A total of £1.6 billion has been committed to the new funds to drive sustainable economic growth, which was first announced by the government in the 2021 Spending Review.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, The Rt Hon John Glen MP and Member of Parliament for Salisbury said: “The South West is home to some of the most creative, innovative and exciting businesses this country has to offer. This fund will deliver vital investment to nourish that potential, building on over £300 million of levelling up funding to grow the local economy and create well-paid jobs across the region.”
Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, added: "The launch of the South West Investment Fund marks an important milestone in our mission to support business growth across the UK. By identifying and addressing funding gaps in the South West, we aim to empower local businesses and unlock their true potential. This initiative will play a crucial role in catalysing economic growth, creating jobs, and fostering innovation in the region."
The £200m fund has been warmly welcomed by South West business leaders.
Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, part of South West Chambers of Commerce which represents businesses throughout the region, said: “Small businesses across the South West tell us there is a real need for more supply and diversity of early-stage finance and this new fund from the British Business Bank will be welcomed because it breaks down barriers and creates more opportunities for growth and innovation."
Katherine Bennett CBE, Chair of the Western Gateway Partnership, said: “It’s great to see this new fund launched from the British Business Bank. We believe that by working together we have the potential to become the UK’s Green Energy Powerhouse – creating solutions to ensure we can reach net zero and take advantage of the economic opportunities that will come from the green transition. Access to early finance will be crucial for this and I look forward to continuing our work with the Great South West partnership, British Business Bank and other partners to ensure the region's businesses have the support to grow and prosper."
Paul Coles, Chief Executive of the South West Business Council, said: “This fund will provide much-needed investment in the region’s businesses, enabling them to thrive, expand, and contribute to the economic prosperity of the South West. We are confident it will drive sustainable economic growth and job creation.”
SWIF will be managed by a team of four fund managers that have been appointed by the British Business Bank including SWIG Finance, FW Capital, Maven and the FSE Group.
SWIG Finance will manage the smaller loans part of the fund, from £25,000 to £100,000, for the whole South West. FW Capital and Maven will manage the debt (£100k to £2m) and equity (up to £5m) funds respectively for the north of the region. The FSE Group will manage both debt and equity for the South of the region.
Applications for funding are made directly to the relevant fund managers who can be contacted via the SWIF website www.southwestinvestmentfund.co.uk