British Business Bank announces investment in dedicated £30m Northern Ireland Growth Finance Fund

Press release 04 December 2018

The British Business Bank, the UK government-owned economic development bank, has today announced a £10.5m commitment to WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP’s new Growth Finance Fund. This is the first time that the Bank has invested in a fund aimed exclusively at supporting growing businesses in Northern Ireland.

The Growth Finance Fund will support loans from £500,000 up to £2m to established smaller growing businesses in Northern Ireland over the next four years. Companies seeking funding – the majority of which are expected to be operating in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors – must be based in Northern Ireland and be demonstrating existing growth.

As well as the £10.5m investment from the British Business Bank, further investment is being provided by Invest Northern Ireland (£7.5m) and private investor Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) (£12m).

The fund will be managed by Belfast-based fund managers WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and has extensive experience of providing finance to Northern Ireland businesses.

he British Business Bank has been supporting smaller businesses in Northern Ireland since it was founded in 2014, so we are delighted to be investing in this dedicated loan fund for Northern Ireland’s smaller businesses. This £30m Growth Finance Fund will boost the supply of finance and further diversify the small business finance market, creating more choices for businesses and helping to meet our objective of reducing regional imbalances across the UK. Patrick Magee CCO, British Business Bank
We welcome the British Business Bank’s support for Northern Ireland business through the launch of this new fund. Following on from our recent announcements of Growth Loan Fund II and NI Small Business Loan Fund, this fund further extends the support available to businesses in need of finance to achieve growth. William McCulla Director of Corporate Finance, Invest Northern Ireland
Around the world, pension funds like NILGOSC are seeking out a diverse range of positive returns including alternatives to the normal financial markets. We are delighted that this home-grown investment has arisen and look forward to working alongside British Business Bank and Invest NI. David Murphy CEO, NILGOSC
We are delighted to be working with British Business Bank to deliver a significant alternative finance option for Northern Ireland companies who want to access funding to expand and scale up. Over the past six years WhiteRock Capital Partners has helped more than 100 SMEs to invest in growth through the Growth Loan Fund and we know there is still a strong appetite for alternative finance options in the market. We will continue to work alongside banks, equity partners and asset-based funders to support businesses using the Growth Finance Fund, which will add to the extensive range of finance options on offer. Paul Millar Chief Executive, WhiteRock Capital Partners
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, with 1,000 new businesses starting up every day and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are building a country in which small businesses will continue to thrive. A key part of this is ensuring growing businesses can access the finance they need for success and we welcome the British Business Bank’s investment in this new Growth Finance Fund – giving businesses in Northern Ireland the opportunities they need to invest for the future and reach their full potential. Kelly Tolhurst Small Business Minister

At present, the British Business Bank is facilitating over £32.7m of finance across nearly 1,000 Northern Irish smaller businesses through its national programmes. It has also enabled £6.1m of funding through its Start Up Loans programme since September 2012.

Further Information

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s 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. Its 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 more than £5.5bn of finance to over 78,000 smaller businesses (as at end of June 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:

The new British Business Bank Finance Hub provides everything high-growth businesses need to know about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and learnings from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM Government and 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.

The commitment from British Business Bank to WhiteRock Capital Partners does not amount to any endorsement or warranty from the British Business Bank, the British Business Bank plc, or the government of the UK.