British Business Bank launches initial phase of ‘Help to Grow’

Press release 22 May 2016

  • Lloyds Banking Group announced as delivery partner for first £30 million of lending supported by Help to Grow
  • Help to Grow’s initial phase to support around £200 million in new lending over its first two years
  • Programme is supported by the European Investment Fund

The British Business Bank has today launched the initial phase of Help to Grow, which is expected to support around £200m of growth loans in its first two years. The Prime Minister announced the programme in February 2015.

The first £30m tranche of lending supported by Help to Grow will be available to growing businesses through Lloyds Banking Group.

Loans of up to £2 million will support the development of new products and processes, stimulate research and innovation and help businesses target new export markets.

The lending will be available to businesses across all sectors, and is expected to benefit most those with high levels of innovation and growth ambition – such as manufacturing businesses, creative industries and the technology sector.

The initial phase of Help to Grow was increased from £100m to £200m in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2016.

This first £30m of the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow programme will enable innovative and ambitious smaller businesses to raise the debt they need to fund their growth opportunities. It is an important milestone for the British Business Bank in our ambitions to encourage and support UK businesses to scale-up and achieve their potential. We want to replicate the drive and dynamism evident in the UKs start-up culture in later stages of the small business journey, and Help To Grow has a critical role to play in achieving that. We are pleased to announce our partnership with Lloyds Banking Group and to be working with the European Investment Fund to bring this vitally important finance to the UK market. Keith Morgan CEO, British Business Bank
Lloyds Banking Group is committed to helping small business and Help to Grow is just one of the ways which will help us to continue to grow our lending to more of the UK’s fastest growing companies. We are excited to be the first bank to deliver this £30m tranche of Help to Grow which will help ambitious businesses become more innovative, access new international markets and help Britain prosper. Chris Loring Managing Director of Lending Products, Lloyds Banking Group
The British Business Bank is one of our key partners in the UK and we are delighted to expand our cooperation by signing this EFSI InnovFin SME Guarantee agreement for the benefit of innovative SMEs. This new transaction will allow innovative UK companies to have access to a new funding source. This year alone together with the British Business Bank, we have committed well over £200m to UK SMEs Pier Luigi Gilibert EIF’s Chief Executive
The EIF’s collaboration with the British Business Bank – which is supported by the Investment Plan for Europe – is very important. The UK is full of innovative start-ups and small businesses which require a helping hand to grow their companies, and today’s news will certainly help many aspirations become a reality. Jyrki Katainen European Commission Vice-President

The InnovFin counter-guarantee agreement between EIF and British Business Finance Limited (BBFL) for the initial £30m tranche of the ‘Help to Grow’ programme will enable BBFL to provide guarantees to Lloyds Banking Group on bank loans to innovative companies in the United Kingdom over the next two years.

The agreement is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Further Information

Notes to editors

About British Business Bank

The British Business Bank makes finance markets for smaller businesses work better, enabling the sector to prosper, grow and build economic activity. Its objectives are to:

  • increase the supply of finance available to smaller businesses where markets don’t work well
  • create a more diverse and vibrant finance market for smaller businesses, with a greater choice of options and providers
  • build confidence in the market by increasing smaller businesses’ understanding of the options available to them
  • achieve this whilst managing taxpayer resources efficiently and within a robust risk management framework.

Lenders wishing to apply for support from the Help to Grow programme can find out more on our Growth Loans page.

About Lloyds Banking Group

Help to Grow will be delivered by Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland within the Lloyds Banking Group.

Lloyds Banking Group is committed to helping businesses of all types and sizes, giving them the funding and support they need to grow at home and abroad. Since the start of 2011, we have grown our net lending to SMEs by 25% whilst the market has contracted by 13%. We have set out our pledges in our Helping Britain Prosper Plan.

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on the EIF’s work under the EFSI.

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between €25,000 and €7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by the EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by April 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €80 billion of investment in Europe.

Find out the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country. For more information see the FAQs.