Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a £45m funding packing as part of a package of measures to boost small business.
The eight-figure sum, which forms part of a new Government campaign to drive forward small firms, is the first funding allocation from the British Business Bank’s investment programme and has been committed to Praesidian Capital Europe and BMS Finance.
The two funds – £30m for Praesidian and £15m for BMS – will provide debt finance of approximately £125m through their respective new funds, which are expected to start lending to small businesses in early 2014.
Cable also set out other measures including a new £1m Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund, which will help firms to benefit from support and advice from experienced business men and women, and a £10m synthetic biology start-up fund from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), to help entrepreneurial scientists.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “We have set out a comprehensive package of measures that will address the concerns of small firms.
“The first investments from the British Business Bank’s investment programme will provide choice to smaller businesses looking to secure vital finance to help invest.
“Alongside cutting red tape and increasing the take up of business rate relief, government has already made significant progress in improving the business outlook for small firms and entrepreneurs.”
A new business support website – greatbusiness.gov.uk – has also been devised to make it easy to access the services and products, including the Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS), National Apprenticeship Service and Growth Accelerator, that help businesses grow.
Harry Swan, managing director of chemical manufacturers Thomas Swan & Co Ltd in Darlington welcomed the measures.
He said: “As an SME it can be hard to find appropriate help and advice on how to grow your business which is why co-ordinated and well-targeted initiatives like Business is GREAT are so important.
“We believe that the UK is about to enjoy a resurgence in focussed, high value manufacturing driven by our world class academic capabilities, a raft of innovative SMEs and the return of major sectors to the UK such as aerospace and automotive.
“The challenge is to link up all of these components and apply a shared vision which if successful will re-establish the UK as a highly attractive place to do business and dramatically boost our exports.
“I think the government is starting to realise the power of a long term industrial strategy that is underpinned by value creation. It is an exciting time to be in business.”