The £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) has reached its first milestone after supporting investment of £25million in the region’s businesses.
Fully launched in late February last year, the Fund seeks to address regional imbalances in finance available to Midlands businesses. Research from the British Business Bank in its Small Business Finance Market Report reported that only 4% of equity finance deals completed in 2017 were in Midlands firms – demonstrating a need to make finance markets work better for SMEs across the MEIF region.
The £25million invested so far, which includes £10million of private sector funds alongside finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, has supported over 100 businesses, ranging from early stage technology start-ups to established manufacturing firms.
A highlight from the Fund’s activity in Worcestershire is its £160k investment in Validair Monitoring Solutions. Provided by Maven Capital Partners, this MEIF finance is to allow the technical services and environmental monitoring solutions company to invest further in its product portfolio as it seeks to enter new overseas markets.
Delivered by the Government’s British Business Bank, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund forms part of a wider initiative to grow the region’s business community and local economy.
Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Communities Secretary and Ministerial Midlands Engine Champion, said: “The Midlands is home to a huge number of innovative and creative businesses, and schemes like the Midlands Engine Investment Fund are helping them grow.
“A thriving Midlands Engine is vital to our modern Industrial Strategy which is why we are backing business in the region to create high-value jobs for the long-term.
“I am determined that the Midlands becomes an even better place to live and work, helps deliver an economy that works for everyone and harnesses the opportunities presented by leaving the European Union.”
Investments from the MEIF are made by one of six appointed fund managers working across the East and South-East Midlands and West Midlands and supported by a network of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The £250million fund offers equity and debt investment between £25,000 to £2million.
Commenting on the milestone, Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “The success of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund to date is the result of a collective effort. Using the expertise of our fund managers and with the support of LEPs and intermediaries we are improving access to finance and making a huge impact at local level.
“The diverse nature of firms supported so far has been a key achievement for the Fund, from trailer manufacturers to university spin outs developing stem cell treatments, all receiving the finance they need to grow their businesses. This journey is only just beginning though, and we encourage businesses from across the region to enquire to see how an MEIF investment could support their ambitions.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Pictured (L to R): Ryan Cartwright (British Business Bank), Gary Woodman (Worcestershire LEP), Steven Wake (Validair) and Chris Rogers (Maven).