The British Business Bank has today (June 28) launched the £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), aimed at boosting the local economy by providing debt and equity finance to help growing small businesses across the region.
The fund has been established in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.
CIOSIF has been designed following input from local business groups, funders, business advisers and the LEP and will provide debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million. It is expected to unlock a further £40 million of private investment.
Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, supporting more than 1 million jobs in the South West alone and 13 million across the UK. This new fund will help us deliver on the ambition set out in our modern Industrial Strategy, with investment that will ensure the region’s small businesses can access the finance they need to grow and succeed.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Capital Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “Our role is to make the finance markets work better for smaller businesses at all stages in their development. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly investment fund has been specifically designed to support growth businesses in this area and is part of a co-ordinated approach to help them realise their potential.”
Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “This fund has been a long-held ambition of the LEP and our partners and we believe it will prove transformational by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our region.”
CIOSIF is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group
The fund has been established to address specific funding needs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. There is an identified market gap in the provision of debt and equity finance, where access to finance has been identified as a much higher barrier to growth than the England average.
Half the fund (ca £20 million) will be in the form of debt finance providing loans between £25,000 and £1 million. This will be aimed at growing businesses with a viable proposal that are unable to access all the debt finance they need from commercial sources, maybe due to a lack of collateral or track record.
The other half of the fund will be in the form of equity funding from £50,000 to £2 million for growing companies. This aims to close an identified equity gap, especially in start-up, early stage and development capital. Despite having 1% of the UK’s SMEs, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have just 0.1% of all UK equity deals.
CIOSIF 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. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government.