Minister for Small Business announces new £40m British Business Bank-backed Enterprise Capital Fund for scaleup businesses

Press release 21 September 2016

The recently appointed new Small Business Minister, Margot James, this afternoon announced the establishment of the British Business Bank’s 21st Enterprise Capital Fund, to be run by Active PE.

The announcement came during the minister’s visit to the ScaleUp Institute’s Manchester conference, supported by Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses and Innovate UK, and aimed at helping Local Enterprise Partnerships, cities and growth hubs deliver economic growth in their local areas.

Small businesses are at the heart of our economy and the whole country benefits when they grow and create jobs for people. The government-owned British Business Bank is helping more than 48,000 businesses with over £3.1bn of support, much of it going to those with high-growth potential. Margot James Small Business Minster

Active is a leading UK-based growth capital fund. They are sector specialists, focusing exclusively on consumer, leisure and retail businesses – where they have deep expertise and know-how. Active has a strong track record of partnering with entrepreneurs building both emerging and established brands. Current and past investments include the likes of Rapha, Soho House, LEON Restaurants, Finisterre and Evans Cycles.

Active invests where there is potential for rapid growth, and the new Active ECF will focus on early-stage founder-led businesses. The British Business Bank will provide £24m of the fund’s £40m investment capacity.

This important new fund will enable more UK smaller businesses to get the investment and support they need to scale up successfully. Our Enterprise Capital Funds are a significant part of the UK’s early stage venture capital ecosystem, and the establishment of the new Active ECF brings the programme’s total investment capability to over £730m. Keith Morgan British Business Bank CEO
We’re excited to partner with the British Business Bank to help more entrepreneurs build lasting consumer businesses and brands. We will continue to invest in the consumer economy with Active ECF – where we can genuinely provide insight and value – and in businesses generating exceptional consumer excitement. Spencer Skinner Active PE co-founder
Getting the right mix of finance is essential‎ to scaling businesses, alongside the access to talent, markets and expertise that such capital can bring. The public and private sector working together can make a huge difference to the resources available to our scaling businesses enabling such businesses to grow to even greater heights. We welcome the targeting of this new fund to such growth businesses and the opportunities it brings. Irene Graham CEO of the ScaleUp Institute

British Business Bank Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) are managed by experienced investors from a variety of backgrounds, including teams from the venture capital industry as well as serial entrepreneurs with a history of success in building early stage UK companies.

They are commercially-focused funds which bring together private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses.

Further Information

British Business Bank

Active Private Equity

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

The ScaleUp Institute

[email protected], @scaleupinst

Notes to editors

About The 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.

British Business Bank plc is the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, and is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. Neither British Business Bank plc nor its principal operating subsidiaries are authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). British Business Bank plc and its subsidiary entities are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. More information, including a legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries, can be found on the British Business Bank website.

British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH. British Business Finance Ltd, registered in England and Wales, is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, registered in England and Wales registration number 09091928, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH.

About Active PE

Active PE is a leading UK-based growth investor, and aims to help exceptional entrepreneurs build exceptional brands. Active focuses exclusively on founder-led businesses in the consumer economy, looking to scale rapidly.

  • Sector Focus: Active focuses on innovative, growth businesses in the branded consumer, leisure and retail space. Sectors of interest include food and hospitality, wellbeing, health, education, sport/fitness, outdoor, travel, fashion, media and entertainment, online media and eCommerce, and other consumer technologies.
  • Investment Stage: Active partner with great entrepreneurs at any stage in the lifecycle of their business provided there is exciting potential for growth. Typically, they focus on growth stage businesses that are facing the critical transition from adolescence to maturity.
  • Partnership Approach: Active invests in founder-led businesses. Where needed, they support entrepreneurs, define strategy, and build the operational infrastructure, structural rigour, and resource capabilities required to rapidly scale. They can invest as little as £1m or as much as £15m over the life of an investment, and seek to take at least a significant minority share so they are in a better position to contribute actively to an accelerated growth trajectory.

More information can be found on the Active PE website.

About the Scaleup Institute

The ScaleUp Institute is a private sector-led organisation that is focused on closing the ‘scaleup gap’ by creating a supportive public and private sector ecosystem that enables scaleup companies to fulfil their potential.

The ScaleUp Institute is building on the research and recommendations published in the  2014 ScaleUp Report, collaborating with policy makers, corporate partners and educational establishments to make a real and identifiable impact.

The Institute is supported by the Goldman Sachs Foundation,  Business Growth Fund, Google, the London Stock Exchange, Olswang, Smith & Williamson, Innovate UK and a range of other advisory, finance, research and industry sector parties.

A ‘scaleup’ company is defined as having more than 10 employees, with average growth in employees or turnover greater than 20% per annum for 2 consecutive years. There are approximately 10,000 scaleups in the UK.

The ScaleUp Institute was announced in June 2015 and is chaired by Sherry Coutu CBE. Its CEO is Irene Graham.

About the Driving Economic Growth through ScaleUp Businesses and Ecosystems programme

On 19-21 September, the ScaleUp Institute in partnership with the Goldman Sachs Foundation and Innovate UK will bring the internationally renowned Professor Daniel Isenberg to the UK to run the second certified education programme on Driving Economic Growth through ScaleUp Businesses and Ecosystems.

Professor Daniel Isenberg is one of the world’s leading authorities on entrepreneurship ecosystems. He is a pioneer in developing practical methodologies for fostering entrepreneurship ecosystems leading to successful scaleup businesses. Babson is the USA’S number one school for entrepreneurship (ranked as such for the past 23 years) | @danisen

The programme will be themed around the core challenges facing UK high growth businesses seeking to scale as outlined in the 2014 ScaleUp Report and will bring together core regional clusters to focus on the growth and scaleup challenges affecting their specific area.

‎The workshop will consist of interactive lectures, exercises, case discussions, and participant application groups and projects. It will enable those participating to understand ranges of techniques and programmes used to drive scaleup growth both in the UK and internationally. It will enable peer-to-peer learnings and cross-fertilisation of ideas in a pragmatic and practical way.

Each participating region will have time to use the sessions to consider relevant application to their home area and consider key growth ScaleUp programme options to bring in to support their local business environment. Leading academics will facilitate the work.