Meet the team who will deliver The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund

Following the recent launch of the £40million Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Investment Fund by the British Business Bank, the appointed fund manager, The FSE Group, is now delighted to introduce the full team that will be managing the fund

The new Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) will provide loan and equity funding between £25,000 and £2million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to facilitate growth. The FSE Group was appointed to manage the fund following an open tender process and will be working with local partners, SWIG Finance, to deliver the investments.

The FSE Group’s CIOSIF team will be led by Stuart Nicol. Stuart has more than 20 years investment experience which includes key investment roles at Crowdcube, Octopus Investments and YFM.  At Octopus Stuart oversaw £110m of funds, with over 1,600 potential investments reviewed under his management. At Crowdcube he supported the company’s rapid growth from 12 to 80 staff with over £100 million raised for more than 100 businesses. Stuart brings an established network of relationships with venture investors and a reach that extends across sectors including creative, health tech, aerospace and renewables.

Ralph Singleton joins Stuart as senior fund manager for equity investment. Ralph has been working for FSE since 2015 and will be relocating to join the Cornwall team. He has over 30 years investment experience and is skilled in finding NEDs and advisors to help investee companies maximise their potential as well as helping them attract co-investment.  Ralph has closed six equity transactions within the last 18 months, leveraging sizable co-investment from FSE’s own business angel network, which he will look to replicate with CIOSIF.

The senior fund manager for loans is Tim Williams. Tim has over 16 years banking experience across the South West – nine of them based in Truro serving the Cornish SME community.  Most recently Tim has been a relationship manager for Lloyds, responsible for the management of SME clients in the £1-10million turnover range. During his career to date, Tim has supported over 120 SMEs across the Cornwall and Isle of Scilly region and gained an expansive network of introducer contacts.

Completing the FSE team will be Meg Salt in fund management and Brent Treloar in business development. Meg comes with over 10 years banking experience within Clydesdale Bank, most recently as a director in corporate and structured finance and previously within large corporate and acquisition finance roles. Brent has been involved in advisory, innovation and programme management services in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for more than 25 years and has extensive SME, funder & advisor contacts across the region. He joins the team from University of Plymouth where he has been helping to identify businesses with innovation potential.

The FSE team brings its experience and expertise in SME lending and equity investing, which will be complemented by the addition of SWIG Finance as a delivery partner. Active in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SME lending market for almost 30 years, SWIG Finance is the leading provider of alternative business loans across the area. The SWIG Finance team has an extensive network of local introducer and partner relationships and will work on the delivery of CIOSIF loans between £25,000 and £250,000, whilst the FSE team will focus on lending above £250,000 along with all equity investing.

SWIG Finance has recruited business manager Mike Wall to help deliver the CIOSIF fund. Mike has 40 years’ experience in personal and commercial lending, including 28 years at Barclays in Cornwall. John Peters, MD at SWIG Finance, says: “I am very excited that SWIG is working with The FSE Group, the appointed CIOSIF Fund Manager, in delivering smaller business loans as part of the £20m allocation for debt finance. Mike will, I’m sure prove to be a valuable addition to our team.”

Stuart Nicol, Head of Funds, Cornwall at The FSE Group, says: “CIOSIF is providing local businesses with a fantastic opportunity to be ambitious in their plans for growth.  With this high calibre team we are ready to make a real difference to the SME funding landscape across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and are looking forward to completing our first deal.”

Ken Cooper, MD, British Business Bank, welcomed the team saying: “It’s great to see The FSE Group appointing a dedicated and experienced team to manage the CIOSIF fund.  Local SMEs will now be able to benefit from the skills and experience of this team when seeking the investment and advice that will help them meet their growth ambitions.”

CIOSIF is a £40million initiative to support economic prosperity across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  Aimed at both early stage and more established businesses, the fund provides loans and equity investment between £25,000 and £2million to eligible companies that demonstrate the potential for high growth.  CIOSIF is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government and is delivered by the British Business Bank through appointed fund manager The FSE Group.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 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.  

Editor’s Notes

About the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF)

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity,

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HMG grant funding.

The project is receiving up to £32m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The MHCLG is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The funds in which Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which  impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting almost £4.6bn of finance to more than 70,000 smaller businesses and participating in a further £7bn of finance to mid-cap businesses (as at March 2018).

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. It has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). This guide impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb or download/print a copy.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.