New fund launched to support business growth

Finance Yorkshire chief executive Alex McWhirter
X The Business Desk

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Finance Yorkshire has launched a new fund to support business growth across the region.

The fund will be available to eligible SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber with ambitions to expand, create jobs and improve productivity.

Created from the combined legacies successfully created by Finance Yorkshire and the former South Yorkshire Investment Fund, it is expected to invest more than £50m over the next five years as Finance Yorkshire continues to realise its investment portfolio from its earlier fund.

The fund will be structured to provide SMEs with a range of support through Seedcorn and Growth Fund (primarily equity) investments along with large and small Business Loans, with Anticus Partners appointed to manage the Seedcorn and Growth investment streams and the fund manager for the Business Loans stream to be announced in the coming weeks.

Finance Yorkshire chief executive Alex McWhirter said the new fund provides a timely boost to SMEs, which continue to face the challenge of access to finance for business growth.

He noted: “This new fund builds on the achievements of our previous fund, which successfully delivered on every level, enabling businesses to expand, create jobs and contribute to the growth of the regional economy. Access to finance remains a key challenge for companies wanting to realise their growth ambitions. Finance Yorkshire will continue to play its part in supporting businesses to grow and prosper.

“Having undertaken a rigorous procurement process, with several companies applying to manage the Seedcorn and Growth elements of the new fund, Anticus emerged as the best candidate. The Finance Yorkshire Board looks forward to continuing to work with the Anticus investment team, who we have come to know well during the nine years they have successfully managed Finance Yorkshire’s Equity Fund.”

Finance Yorkshire’s new fund will complement other SME finance providers in Yorkshire and the Humber, including the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), with market analysis showing there is substantial demand in the region for gap funding. The new fund is intended to be an ‘evergreen’ fund for the region that will continually reinvest investment returns as and when they are realised.

Finance Yorkshire chairman James Newman added: “Finance Yorkshire has a strong track record in supporting SME growth in Yorkshire and the Humber. The performance of our previous funds means we have generated a more than sufficient legacy to create this new fund and provide an additional route for businesses seeking finance for growth.”

Ian Brown, director of Anticus Partners, said: “We are delighted to extend our successful relationship with Finance Yorkshire and look forward to actively supporting management teams and entrepreneurs to realise their commercial objectives and lay firm foundations for long-term growth.”

Finance Yorkshire’s previous investments created and safeguarded more than 16,000 jobs over seven years (2010-2017), enabling those businesses to increase their turnover by a total of £474m and attract a further £374m from private sector sources. A final evaluation by economic development specialist Hatch Regeneris stated that Finance Yorkshire “had demonstrated excellent value for money”.