Hundreds of South West businesses express interest in the new £200 million South West Investment Fund
More than 350 businesses from across the South West have already expressed their interest in the new £200 million South West Investment Fund (SWIF) just weeks after its launch.
The government-backed fund, which was unveiled last month by the British Business Bank, aims to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for new and growing smaller businesses across the region.
It operates throughout the South West, encompassing Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire.
Since its launch in the first week of July over 350 businesses have expressed an interest in applying to the fund, and more than 300 delegates have attended a series of regional roadshows explaining what the fund is all about, and how businesses can apply via the fund’s dedicated fund managers.
SWIF offers a diverse range of commercial finance options ranging from small loans from £25,000 to equity investments of £5 million, for companies at all stages of development. It aims to fill the gaps in available finance options in the South West and empower businesses, both those located in busy hubs and in harder-to-reach locations, to unlock their potential.
Jody Tableporter, director of UK and regional funds at the British Business Bank said: “We’ve had a great reception to the funds across the South West both at our roadshows and evidenced by the interest we’re seeing from growth-minded businesses across the region.
“Our fund managers are reporting demand at all levels of the fund, from small loans, larger debt and equity finance, and that’s really encouraging. We look forward to announcing our first deals soon.” One of the SWIF roadshows was held at Swindon Town Football Club and the keynote speaker was Chris Stevens, head of business support at Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
He said: “Access to finance remains an area of business support in the highest demand so this fund is really welcome for businesses across Swindon, Wiltshire and the region. In particular, the range of money available through the fund will give businesses lots of options to find a funding structure which is right for their business journey.
“Money is the lifeblood of many businesses and borrowing at the right time can be key to the future success and growth of that business. I have no doubt this funding will generate jobs as well as support research, development and innovation across the region.” Also attending was Jessica Painter, a partner at Watersheds Corporate Finance who said: “Swindon has always been an industrial area – for over a hundred years – so I think the entrepreneurs who are located here will benefit from this investment, in terms of stimulating organic growth.
“Increasingly over the last few years, businesses have welcomed the benefits of diversity, of which finance makes up a large part. This investment will enable us to leverage the productivity of Swindon and opportunities for businesses to come into the area, particularly through the large manufacturing sites that are being regenerated at the moment.”
And Sinclair Brown, innovation and growth specialist at Business West, added: “This fund will help fulfil some of the past funding gaps, certainly for smaller businesses. It will assist businesses to perhaps find the impetus to grow with this support, which could be difficult to get elsewhere, particularly for environmental, social and governance areas.
“There are a lot of businesses who could be supported during this five-year program in the South West.” 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.
SWIF is 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. Applications for funding are made directly to the relevant fund managers who can be contacted via the SWIF website at www.southwestinvestmentfund.co.uk
Pictured: Chris Stevens, head of business support at Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (third from left) with SWIF fund managers (left to right) David Goodall, FW Capital; Chris Butters, SWIG Finance; Melanie Goward, Maven
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