The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund, is officially open for business, with the first loans being awarded to growing businesses across the Midlands. The MEIF is delivered by the British Business Bank and the Fund is investing £120 million of debt finance and small business loans to eligible firms. This initial tranche of funding is part of a wider £250 million of resource targeted towards the region’s start-ups, scale-ups and SME community.
Loans have been made across the Midlands with four companies benefitting from finance to date to support their growth aspirations:
Leicester-based BCME, owner of specialist education provider Echo Factory has received finance from MEIF, which will be deployed to market its degree-level music courses, maximising student numbers and empowering the institution to become self-sustaining.
Direct Digital Controls, in Brierley Hill, West Midlands is a business that specialises in the installation and maintenance of energy and environmental control systems. With the MEIF investment, the firm is poised to take on four new employees, train an additional apprentice and expand its growing wired and lighting controls divisions.
Nottingham-based medical devices company Olberon, has produced a cannulation device that is used in the medical industry. The funding will have a significant impact on commercial sales globally, by allowing them to develop existing links with distributors, and by helping them market more effectively.
Milton Keynes’ Renewable ON Ltd, a clean energy specialist supplies and installs quality bespoke solar powered LED outdoor and street lighting solutions to both public and private sector. Primarily the loan funds are required for cash flow including stock, wages and marketing to fulfil initial orders.
Nick Pulley, Chair of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s Strategic Oversight Board, said:
"It is heartening to see the first businesses tap into the opportunities presented by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and having built a strong pipeline of deals, the fund is well set to accelerate this progress. SMEs that are in the market for external finance and have growth aspirations should check the website and seek out fund managers to find out how the MEIF could take their business to the next level."
Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer at the British Business Bank, commented:
"Our aim is to make finance markets work better for smaller businesses and address regional inequalities in funding. Through our work with the MEIF, we’re poised to support investment, growth and job creation throughout the Midlands."
Nick Pulley, SOB Chair, Ajay Naik, Director Echo Factory, Neil Millington, Head of Investments, ELEM
Ajay Naik, Director at BCME, said:
"At this stage of the business cycle, it is often challenging to engage with mainstream lenders, we were surprised by how straightforward and logical the MEIF’s lending process was. It’s been hugely refreshing to speak to fund managers, in person, to explain the merits, strengths and aspirations of Echo Factory and via the support provided unlock the next step in our growth. We’re now poised to significantly bolster our 2018 student intake and further expand the range of courses available to those looking to enrol."
Bob Taylor, Director at Direct Digital Controls, added:
"Securing finance from MEIF is a pivotal step in the future of our business growth, giving us the backing we need to expand and reach out to new customers UK-wide. Meaningful expansion requires extra talent and an investment in new business, we’re now ready to take the next step."
The MEIF will invest in debt finance and small business loans, ranging from £25,000 to £1.5m, through appointed Fund Managers – Enterprise Loans East Midlands, BCRS Business Loans and Maven Capital Partners. For more information on the funding available, please visit www.meif.co.uk
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.