Launch of Midlands Engine Investment Fund II unlocks millions in funding for smaller businesses

The British Business Bank is launching its new £400 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund II today, unlocking additional funding to help smaller businesses in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas prosper and thrive.
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The fund will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting new and growing businesses across the whole of the Midlands, through investment strategies that best meet the needs of these firms. It includes a range of finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investments up to £5 million to help small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up or stay ahead.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund II aims to build on the success of the inaugural Midlands Engine Investment Fund, bringing the total for investment in the region to more than £700m since 2017. It will aim to further increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance by providing options to firms that might otherwise be unable to secure investment. Funding is designed to help businesses with activities including expansion, product or service innovation, new processes, skills development, and capital equipment.

Three fund managers have been appointed to manage the fund in the East and South East Midlands. First Enterprise - Enterprise Loans will manage the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000 to £100,000), Maven Capital Partners will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2 million), and Mercia Ventures will manage equity deals (up to £5 million).

Workbuzz TeamWorkbuzz Team
Workbuzz Team

Louis Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, British Business Bank said: “Small businesses are at the heart of The Midlands’ economy. Since launching in 2017, the first Midlands Engine Investment Fund has so far created more than 4,000 jobs across the region by backing 739 smaller businesses, boosting the region’s productivity by 70%.

“The first Midlands Engine Investment Fund provided a blueprint for how we can support entrepreneurs and founders, whoever they are and wherever they are in the region, to access the funds and support they need. This new fund will allow us to continue supporting business owners across the Midlands, whether they’re at the start of their journey or are already running an established firm.

“Promoting growth by ensuring entrepreneurs can access the finance they need regardless of where and who they are is one of the Bank’s strategic objectives, and vital to unlocking the full potential of the UK’s smaller businesses.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Gareth Davies MP said: “Small businesses are the engine of the economy, which is why having access to funding like this is vital to help them thrive and grow, creating jobs and spreading opportunity everywhere.

“As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the Midlands propelled the UK into a new era of technological and economic growth and now the next generation of entrepreneurs will have the support they need to continue this success”.

WorkBuzz, a fast-growing employee engagement platform headquartered in Milton Keynes, secured seven-figure funding through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. WorkBuzz provides businesses with an agile employee engagement platform, backed by expert consultancy, to help them make data-driven decisions and manage change.

Launched in 2018 by employee engagement expert, Steven Frost, WorkBuzz has more than doubled in size since 2021 and achieved significant year-on-year growth. Its clients include Shell Energy, HS2, Premier Foods and Five Guys.

Steven Frost, CEO, WorkBuzz said: "The investment we received from the Midlands Engine Investment fund in 2023 enabled us to build on the success of our company to date, and build on the momentum we had gained in the employee engagement market.

“The funding also enhanced our international capabilities, as we have successfully begun expansion into US markets, a key goal of ours. We have also been able to grow our sales and marketing teams and further invest in innovative AI technology and analytics tools for the benefit of our clients.

"The funding we received was game-changing to WorkBuzz and we’re sure to see the positive impact of it for many years to come.

“I would encourage any business that is thinking of levelling up in 2024 to engage with the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and find out how it can transform your work and business too."

Following today’s launch, the British Business Bank will be holding a series of information roadshows aimed at people working with smaller businesses including enterprise agencies, advisors, accountants, law firms and more. The first of these sessions will be held in Lincoln on 11th March 2024, with additional sessions held in Leicester, Wolverhampton, and Coventry, with further locations planned for April and May 2024.

To find out more and apply for funding, visit: www.midlandsengineinvestmentfund.co.uk

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