Rebecca Wayman

British Business Bank to invest over £10m in Northern Ireland Growth Finance Fund

Today (December 4), The British Business Bank, a UK government-owned economic development bank, has announced a £10.5m commitment to WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP’s new Growth Finance Fund.

This is the first time that the bank has invested in a fund aimed exclusively at supporting growing businesses in Northern Ireland.

The Growth Finance Fund will support loans from £500k up to £2m to established smaller growing businesses in Northern Ireland over the next four years.

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 of British Business Bank, said: “The British Business Bank has been supporting smaller businesses in Northern Ireland since it was founded in 2014, so we are delighted to be investing in this dedicated loan fund for Northern Ireland’s smaller businesses.

“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.”

As well as the £10.5m investment from the British Business Bank, further investment is being provided by Invest Northern Ireland (£7.5m) and private investor Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) (£12m).

The fund will be managed by Belfast-based fund managers WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and has extensive experience of providing finance to Northern Ireland businesses.

William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest Northern Ireland, added: “We welcome the British Business Bank’s support for Northern Ireland business through the launch of this new fund.

“Following on from our recent announcements of Growth Loan Fund II and NI Small Business Loan Fund, this fund further extends the support available to businesses in need of finance to achieve growth.”

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.

Small business minister, Kelly Tolhurst, concluded: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, with 1,000 new businesses starting up every day and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are building a country in which small businesses will continue to thrive.

“A key part of this is ensuring growing businesses can access the finance they need for success and we welcome the British Business Bank’s investment in this new Growth Finance Fund - giving businesses in Northern Ireland the opportunities they need to invest for the future and reach their full potential.”

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