Ireland : A UK Government-owned bank has invested £10.5 million in a fund aimed at growing Northern Ireland small businesses.
The British Business Bank has announced the major commitment to the new £30m Growth Finance Fund, which will support loans from £500,000 up to £2m to growing businesses in the north over the next four years.
As well as the investment from the British Business Bank, further capital is being provided by Invest Northern Ireland (£7.5m) and private investor, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) (£12m).
The new fund is a successor to the Growth Loan Fund, set up in 2012, which committed £55m to more than 100 businesses and will be managed by Belfast-based WhiteRock Capital Partners.
Companies seeking funding – the majority of which are expected to be operating in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors – must be based in Northern Ireland and be demonstrating existing growth.
Patrick Magee, CCO at the British Business Bank said they are delighted to be investing in the loan fund.
“This £30m Growth Finance Fund will boost the supply of finance and further diversify the small business finance market, creating more choices for businesses and helping to meet our objective of reducing regional imbalances across the UK.”
Paul Millar, chief executive at WhiteRock Capital Partners added:
“Over the past six years WhiteRock Capital Partners has helped more than 100 SMEs to invest in growth through the Growth Loan Fund and we know there is still a strong appetite for alternative finance options in the market.
“We will continue to work alongside banks, equity partners and asset-based funders to support businesses using the Growth Finance Fund, which will add to the extensive range of finance options on offer.”
At present, the British Business Bank is facilitating over £32.7m of finance across nearly 1,000 Northern Irish smaller businesses through its national programmes. It has also enabled £6.1m of funding through its Start Up Loans programme since September 2012.