The British Business Bank (BBB) is today launching its £150 million Investment Fund for Scotland.
Chief executive Louis Taylor told The Press and Journal (P&J) the new fund is designed to reach every part of the country.
It is “structured” to make sure firms in the central belt do not end up hogging most of the cash, he said.
North and north-east businesses will have “fair” access, he added.
State-owned business bank
BBB is owned by the UK Government. Its new Investment Fund for Scotland is expected to unlock other funding, helping smaller businesses to “prosper and thrive”.
Finance options include loans from £25,000 to £2 million, and equity investments worth up to £5 million to help small and medium-sized enterprises “start up, scale up or stay ahead”.
It is the first solely UK Government-backed investment fund for smaller businesses in Scotland, helping to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance by providing options to firms that might otherwise not receive help.
We want to create local opportunities and generate an impact that spans beyond the fund, helping to boost productivity, innovation and employment.”
Louis Taylor, chief executive, British Business Bank
The funding is designed to support businesses with activities including expansion, product or service innovation, new processes, skills development and new equipment purchases.
Mr Taylor said: “With this fund for Scottish businesses, we hope to open the doors to new opportunities for a range of smaller firms looking to get started, grow, and develop across different sectors.
“We know access to finance is a key concern for small businesses and are committed to ensuring that founders from all over the country have the same prospects in terms of finance, no matter where they are based.”
He added: “Scotland is a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
“Recent success stories from spin-outs and early stage businesses show there is huge economic potential. We want to create local opportunities and generate an impact that spans beyond the fund, helping to boost productivity, innovation and employment.”
Fund management trio
Three fund managers have been appointed to manage the cash.
DSL Business Finance will administer the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000-£100,000) and The FSE Group will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2m).
Maven Capital Partners will manage equity deals worth up to £5m.
“Scotland has some fantastic business success stories, and this new, additional fund will help create even more of them.”
Alister Jack, secretary of state for Scotland
A total of £1.6 billion has been committed to new funds UK-wide to drive sustainable economic growth and break down barriers in access to finance.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Scottish fund would be “hugely important” in giving smaller businesses north of the border the investment they need to grow.
“Scotland has some fantastic business success stories, and this new, additional fund will help create even more of them,” he added.
Following today’s launch, BBB will be holding a series of information roadshows aimed at “people working in the small business finance ecosystem”. The first of these will be held in Inverness on October 31, with the second in Edinburgh on November 1.
More towns and cities will be covered in the new year and an online version will take place on November 7.
Businesses throughout Scotland have already accessed millions of pounds of support through BBB’s UK-wide start-up loan scheme.
BB’s £2m milestone in Aberdeen
In August the P&J reported the programme had hit a £2m milestone in Aberdeen.
Meanwhile, lending worth many millions of pounds has found its way into business accounts in Moray and the Highlands.
Other BBB support has gone to firms including Aberdeen-based drug discovery firm Elasmogen, which received £2m through an Enterprise Investment Scheme funding round.