The British Business Bank will today (July 6) launch the £200 million South West Investment Fund (SWIF) aimed at fostering growth and prosperity for small businesses across the south west.
SWIF will provide much-needed funding to SMEs across the whole 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 £25k 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, 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 £200 million fund has also been warmly welcomed by local business leaders. “We’ve already seen the success of the bank’s Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund in Cornwall over the last five years and the difference it has made to businesses – and business aspirations – in the Duchy,” said Cornwall Chamber chief executive Kim Conchie.
“With that fund coming to an end later this year, we very much welcome the new South West Investment Fund operating across the peninsula to build on the success that’s been achieved.”
One Cornish business that has already benefitted from a British Business Bank programme is Liskeard-based Wildanet, which secured £1.15 million of equity funding.
Chief Executive Helen Wylde said: “The British Business Bank’s support has been crucial to the success of Wildanet. It enabled us to scale up in the early years and attract new investment to fund our rapid growth as we bring next generation digital connectivity to communities across the south west.”
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.