The British Business Bank (BBB) has announced the first wave of its £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), with the launch of £120m of SME debt finance, which is now available to businesses across the region.
As part of that launch, Maven has been appointed to manage the £90m MEIF Maven Debt Finance fund, focused on providing debt funding to high-potential businesses located across both the West Midlands and the East & South East Midlands regions. Composed of two separate lots, which make available £50m for SMEs in the West Midlands, and £40m in the East & South East Midlands, the fund will providing finance of between £100,000 and £1.5million to SMEs.
Aimed at eliminating regional imbalances in SME funding, MEIF will support fast-growth businesses looking to expand into new markets, with the objective of boosting productivity and supporting job creation in the region. It will invest across the ten Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, including: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, The Marches, Stoke & Staffordshire and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) as well as Greater Lincolnshire, South East Midlands and Leicester & Leicestershire in the East Midlands.
The launch of the MEIF is the result of close collaboration between the BBB, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Communities and Local Government and 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the East & South East Midlands and West Midlands. It brings together new and existing funding from Central Government, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), British Business Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB).
It is clear that many viable, dynamic regionally based SMEs, with innovative products and services, strong business plans and highly capable management teams, are struggling to access the funding that will allow them to develop their businesses and market offering. The MEIF is looking to address that situation, with a particular focus on supporting the growth aspirations of high-potential SMEs with up to 250 employees, that can contribute to regional economic development, job creation and innovation. The Fund’s objective is to produce greater levels of investment in smaller businesses, and increased flexibility in the type of funding available to those businesses.
Maven is one of the UK’s most active private company investors, with a long established record of working with advisers and supporting SMEs across the Midlands, and already manages a number of regional debt or equity mandates across the North of England and Scotland. In addition to the existing team operating out of Birmingham, Maven’s regional presence will be further strengthened with the opening of an East Midlands office, as well as a number of key local appointments to the Midlands investment team. This additional resource will support Maven in deploying MEIF funds and ensure that Maven executives can provide comprehensive coverage and support to MEIF portfolio companies, both in terms of the initial investment process and ongoing support as those businesses grow.
Andrew Ferguson, Partner, Maven Capital Partners UK LLP, said “Maven has many years’ experience of investing in and supporting SMEs across the Midlands. We are one of the UK’s most experienced and active private equity fund managers, and are delighted to be working with the British Business Bank to deliver the objectives of the MEIF. The Midlands has a deserved reputation as being a key driver in UK economic growth and producing innovative smaller businesses, and there remains a clear need for this type of funding to help high-growth Midlands SMEs fulfil their potential. Our MEIF Debt Fund team is very much looking forward to working in partnership alongside Midlands SMEs.”
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