Birmingham In SME Funding Boost

Businesses In Birmingham Could Share Part Of A New £56m Funding Boost


A new funding stream worth £56 million has been launched by the Finance Birmingham organisation.

The group, which was set up by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the Black Country LEP and the West Midlands Pension Fund, wants to help SMEs to grow in the city, according to the Birmingham Post.

In total, the fund, which was also supported by a number of private sector partners and the central government's Regional Growth Fund, is expected to create or safeguard as many as 5,000 supply chain jobs.

SMEs will be able to apply for loans of between £250,000 and £2 million, but Finance Birmingham said it expects most credit requests to be worth around £1 million.

Sue Summers, chief executive of Finance Birmingham, told the Birmingham Post: "The Mezzanine Fund will be the largest individual growth capital fund for SMEs in the West Midlands.

"Its significant scale means that, not only will we be able to support local businesses that need finance to achieve the growth they are capable of, but we will be able to attract other high-growth firms to the area, support job creation and build our local entrepreneur ecosystem."

The scheme is up and running now and is expected to carry on until spring 2019.

Birmingham was hit hard by the recession but is now one of the strongest growing UK cities, with the city's airport recently announced it had the busiest April in its history, transporting more than 750,000 passengers to a number of international destinations - a sign of economic growth.

The airport also made the news recently by becoming the first hub outside of London to offer direct flights to China, while Manchester Airport also recently revealed a route to Hong Kong.

Government officials have emphasised their wish for the UK's regional cities to boost trade with developing economies.

Expert Opinion
Access to finance is a huge issue for small businesses at the moment so any new scheme designed to help entrepreneurs and growing businesses gain the funds they need to push forward with their development has to be welcomed.

"The Government has maintained that small firms have a vital role to play when it comes to boosting and driving the economy forward and their emphasis on such companies was highlighted in the inclusion of the Small Business Bill in the latest Queen’s Speech.

"It is vital that small businesses which are looking to grow ensure they are aware of all of the options available to them to expand their operations – and an important part of this is seeking the right advice on all kinds of issues. Legal expertise is intrinsic to this, as lawyers can provide support on matters ranging from real estate deals, contract law and regulatory compliance to HR and employment issues."
Fergal Dowling, Partner