Supporting over 89,000 businesses with £6.6bn of finance, an increase of 27% over the year

Press release 17 July 2019

In the past year, the Bank has delivered strongly against all six of its objectives and is supporting over 89,000 businesses with £6.6bn of finance, an increase of 27% over the year, following a period of rapid growth both in scope and delivery. The last five years have seen the British Business Bank build a strong track record of developing carefully targeted programmes to improve small business finance markets. We are well placed to support smaller businesses across the UK at every stage of development now and in the future. Keith Morgan CEO

The British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank, today publishes its Annual Report and Accounts 2019, being its fifth year of operation.

Key highlights

In the last financial year, the Bank delivered strongly against all six of its objectives:

  • Increasing the supply of finance to smaller businesses – The stock of finance supported through the Bank’s programmes was £6.6bn as of end of March 2019, an increase of 27% from £5.2bn the previous year.
  • Helping create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses – Over 90% of the finance the Bank supported was delivered through smaller, newer or alternative finance providers. The Bank announced 13 new delivery partners across its programmes, bringing the total number of providers it works with to more than 130.
  • Identifying and helping to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance – The Bank’s dedicated regional funds now support more than £240m of finance. To support its regional activities further, it introduced a new Regional Angels programme and a UK Network of Bank colleagues located across all regions of the UK.
  • Encouraging and enabling SMEs to seek the finance best suited to their needs – Awareness of the Bank amongst smaller businesses that might seek finance increased from 13% to 28% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. The Bank’s new online Finance Hub had over 200,000 visits since its June 2018 launch, and 77% of users would recommend the Finance Hub to others.
  • Being the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK, providing advice and support to the Government – The Bank worked across Government to support priorities such as housing – with guarantees for up to £1bn to support lending to smaller housebuilders – and national security. It also published five major reports, including a ground breaking UK VC and Female Founders report in February 2019.
  • Achieving its other objectives while managing taxpayers’ money efficiently – The Bank returned a profit before tax of £81.3m. It produced a 3.6% adjusted return on capital employed, ahead of its 2.5% target. Since the Bank was created, it has generated excess returns ahead of its five-year target amounting to £195m.

Bank programme highlights

  • British Patient Capital, a commercial subsidiary of the Bank launched in June 2018, made £333m of new commitments in 12 funds. It aims to support high growth innovative UK businesses in accessing the long-term financing they require to scale up.
  • New Managed Funds programme, launched in May 2018, designed to increase access to longer-term venture and growth capital for ambitious and innovative, high potential companies in the UK.
  • New £100m Regional Angels Programme, launched in October 2018, to help reduce regional imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK.
  • New £40m Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund launched in June 2018.
  • First commitment, of £10.5m, to a fund focusing exclusively on supporting small businesses in Northern Ireland in December 2018.
Smaller businesses are of huge importance to the UK economy and this report shows the British Business Bank is playing a crucial part in their growth and success. Lord Smith of Kelvin Chair of the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19 is accessible at

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 £6.6bn of finance to over 89,000 smaller businesses (as at end of March 2019).

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 British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses 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.