£100 million has been invested in the region’s small businesses through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).
The milestone was reached by the Fund after making 481 investments in 350 businesses located in the West Midlands.
An additional £90 million of private sector leverage has also been secured as a result of the MEIF’s investments to date. One of the latest investments from the MEIF was Shropshire start-up, Earth Rover, which aims to use cutting-edge technologies to help farmers improve crop yields . It raised £250,000 from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).
The £250 million Fund was launched by the Government’s British Business Bank in 2017 with an aim of improving the finance landscape for smaller businesses in the Midlands.
The most active sector to receive investment from the MEIF has been manufacturing, with 113 investments totalling £21 million. Other key funding areas include businesses specialising in medical technologies, life sciences, transport and sustainable energy.
Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said:
“The resilience and agility of our regional economy is strongly linked to the significant population of SMEs in the Midlands. They are the lifeblood of our region’s creative ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. But SMEs in particular have felt the full brunt of the challenges of the last 12 months. So now, more than ever, they need confidence, clarity and certainty about the future, along with access to finance, to help them grow and realise their potential.
“This £100 million milestone of investment in our SMEs shows how powerful the Midlands Engine Investment Fund has been; an extremely valuable route through which regional firms can access the finance they need for growth. Demand has been consistently strong for MEIF and its impact has been high, enabling firms to improve workforce skills, increase R&D investments and move many more products towards commercialisation.”
Commenting on the milestone, Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer at the British Business Bank, said:
“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to address a market gap in the finance available to small businesses in the region. Access to finance can be critical in enabling businesses to explore new opportunities and expand. Without it, business growth stalls.
“The British Business Bank and MEIF has continued to support Midlands’ businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering much needed finance and helping many to navigate the accompanying disruption, while still fulfilling their ambitions.”
Jon Corbett, Chair of the Strategic Oversight Board, added:
“Through our seven fund managers, network of Local Enterprise Partnerships, intermediaries and other partners, we have fostered a real sense of regional collaboration. This has been pivotal to the £100 million delivered to date and will continue to play an important role as the Fund transforms the finance landscape for small businesses across the Midlands.”
Investments from the MEIF are made by seven fund managers working across the West Midlands and East and South East Midlands and are supported by a network of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The Fund offers debt and equity investment between £25k to £2 million.
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.
– Debt Finance: £44 million
– Equity Finance: £29 million
– Small Business Loans: £15 million
– Proof-of-Concept: £12 million