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British Business Bank – Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund and other highlights of its 5th year

Earlier this week, the British Business Bank published its Annual Report and Accounts and took the opportunity to report highlights of the past financial year which included a summary of progress against its six stated objectives (a number of which are of direct relevance to smaller businesses based in the South West).

Objective British Business Bank’s comments
1.     Increasing the supply of finance to smaller businesses The stock of finance supported through the Bank’s programmes was £6.6bn as of end of March 2019, an increase of 27% from £5.2bn the previous year.
2.     Helping create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses Over 90% of the finance the Bank supported was delivered through smaller, newer or alternative finance providers. The Bank announced 13 new delivery partners across its programmes, bringing the total number of providers it works with to more than 130.


3.     Helping create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses –Identifying and helping to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance The Bank’s dedicated regional funds now support more than £240m of finance. To support its regional activities further, it introduced a new Regional Angels programme and a UK Network of Bank colleagues located across all regions of the UK.
4.     Encouraging and enabling SMEs to seek the finance best suited to their needs Awareness of the Bank amongst smaller businesses that might seek finance increased from 13% to 28% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. The Bank’s new online Finance Hub had over 200,000 visits since its June 2018 launch, and 77% of users would recommend the Finance Hub to others.
5.     Being the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK, providing advice and support to the Government The Bank worked across Government to support priorities such as housing – with guarantees for up to £1bn to support lending to smaller housebuilders – and national security. It also published five major reports, including a ground breaking UK VC and Female Founders report in February 2019.
6.     Achieving its other objectives while managing taxpayers’ money efficiently The Bank returned a profit before tax of £81.3m. It produced a 3.6% adjusted return on capital employed, ahead of its 2.5% target. Since the Bank was created, it has generated excess returns ahead of its five-year target amounting to £195m

Included in the ‘Bank programme highlights’, as someone who works with small business predominately based in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, are two highlights that are of particular interest to me:

  • New £100m Regional Angels Programme, launched in October 2018, to help reduce regional imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK.
  • New £40m Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund launched in June 2018.

I hope most readers of this blog are aware of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (and by association, the British Business Bank) as we have blogged on this previously. They have presented at two of our breakfast briefings here in Truro and both presented at this year’s Finance in Cornwall event – so hopefully we have contributed in increasing awareness of the British Business Bank. As Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chair of the British Business Bank, said, “Smaller businesses are of huge importance to the UK economy and this report shows the British Business Bank is playing a crucial part in their growth and success”.

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