Santander and EV launch £40m SME fund

A NEW new £40m investment fund to supprt SMEs has been launched by Santander, Enterprise Ventures and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

The Enterprise Ventures’ SME Loan Fund is funded by Santander (£30m) and £10m from Greater Manchester Pension Fund and was announced at Santander’s Breakthrough Box Live event in Manchester.

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The fund will provide up to £1m to help small firms fuel growth. The loans will be available to established and ambitious SMEs in all sectors and in all areas of the UK, building on Enterprise Ventures’ strongholds in the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside.
 
The launch of the new fund brings Enterprise Ventures’ total funds under management to £200m. Chief executive Jonathan Diggines said: “Enterprise Ventures SME Loans represents a significant new institutional source of investment into the SME market, one which is not subject to the constraints of other Government and European funds.
 
“We recognise the important role that small businesses play in providing services and employment within local communities, developing new ideas and technologies, and strengthening regional economies.
 
Enterprise Ventures SME Loans are available now to established businesses anywhere in the UK which have been trading for three years or more and which have current or anticipated £100k operating profit and a minimum turnover of £1m. Loans will be available for all purposes, including acquisitions, asset purchases, operational improvement and business development.

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Meanwhile, official government data by tghe bank shows the number of SMEs in the North West was up 4.3% year-on-year as at March 2014. The top three fastest-growing sectors in terms of numbers of SMEs are business administration (up 9.8%); the professional, scientific and technical sector (9.5%); and IT and comms (8.5%).

The growth represents around 9,000 new businesses in the region and overall the North West now has 215,780 SMEs, with the most in Greater Manchester (78,665) followed by Lancashire (38,345) and Merseyside (30,645).

The analysis found that the five fastest-growing sectors in the region are business administration (up 9.8% year-on-year); professional, scientific and technical industries (9.5%); IT and communications (8.5%); health (6.5%); and transport and storage (5.5%). In terms of absolute numbers, the top three sectors are now the professional, scientific and technical sector, with 36,050 businesses, followed by construction (24,260) and retail (21,070).

Damian McGann, divisional managing director – North West, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The North West has always had a very strong base of small and medium-sized businesses and it is great to see the continued development and growth of businesses across a broad range of sectors. I believe the North West has the potential to support even stronger growth in its business base and to lead the UK as a business powerhouse.

“Santander has been growing its own presence in the North West. We believe that the support we can provide to ambitious SMEs through initiatives such as our Breakthrough programme, which includes our Growth Capital lending programme, offers a highly differentiated service for businesses.

“The Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival will be a unique event aimed at providing genuine insight and support for the local business community. We have developed a strong programme of speakers, discussions and events, and I believe all stakeholders will find real value in taking part.”

From 2011 to mid-2015, Santander Corporate & Commercial has grown net lending to SMEs in the North West on average by more than 10% per annum, and over the past three years £1.6bn of gross lending has been provided to SMEs in the region.

The Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival in Manchester is part of a UK tour taking place across 2015 which will see Santander’s Breakthrough Moments Box visit key towns and cities in the UK.

Dean Gormley, banking and finance partner at Irwin Mitchell advised Santander on its investment in the new fund.

 Further information on the event in Manchester can be found at http://www.santandercb.co.uk/content/manchester-breakthrough-box-live-event

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