Thursday, 31 October 2013

Matched Funding For UK SME Lending Platforms

At a ‘FinTech’ Cabinet Office workshop on Monday, we were informed/reminded that the "Business Bank" created by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills has at least £300m to invest in any platform or business that will provide debt funding to SMEs.

Apparently few applications have been received so far.

The process starts with just a 3-pager to establish whether its worth proceeding to a more detailed pitch. If the process is to proceed, it should be no more intensive than a typical VC/angel investment process (see section 2 of the doc).

Related investment funding programmes include:
  • £50m to expand the Business Angel Co-Investment Fund to a £100m fund; 
  • £25m to extend the Enterprise Capital Fund programme to include a VC Catalyst Fund, which will invest in venture capital funds that specialise in early stage venture capital and are near to close, enabling them to commenc e investment in small and medium sized enterprises.
  • Plans to expand the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (“EFG”), aimed at using guarantees to help bridge the “affordability gap” by providing a guarantee to lenders of up to 25% of the overall cost of repaying a loan; and separately, extending EFG to support businesses lacking track record, who are seeking loans of under £25k.
Several other programmes (like the Business Finance Partnership) are also being consolidated under the umbrella of the “Business Bank”, boosting the overall amount available to about £1.5bn. New senior management with private equity experience have been appointed in order to speed the programme along.

Here's an explanation of the strategy and timing for the Business Bank to become fully operational. 

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