Objective

Increase diversity of
SME finance in the UK

When we support a small business finance product, or help an alternative provider, smaller businesses benefit from better choices and better terms that increased competition can deliver.

Objective

Increase diversity of
SME finance in the UK

When we support a small business finance product, or help an alternative provider, smaller businesses benefit from better choices and better terms that increased competition can deliver.

As well as boosting the supply of finance to smaller businesses, it’s equally important to spread that supply across a range of products, providers, and funding sources. This diversity can improve access to finance for a wider range of businesses, improve the terms and ease of use of finance for small businesses, and increase the likelihood that firms get the most appropriate form of finance for their needs.

The main way we measure our performance for this objective is by assessing the proportion of the stock we support through smaller finance providers. By increasing provider diversity we also help with the other dimensions of a diversified finance market, as different providers will offer a wider range of products and tap alternative sources of funding.

In 2018/19, we committed capital to 14 new funds across our venture capital and growth capital programmes, including to new and existing delivery partners. Additionally, the Bank announced new delivery partners under its Investment Programme and ENABLE programmes, and accredited several new providers under EFG. The total number of finance providers we now work with is over 130.

case study

Doctify

Maps London

Programme: Enterprise Capital Fund

Doctify is a healthtech platform built by medics for healthcare providers, doctors and patients.

It was founded by two NHS surgeons when they spotted the need for an online platform that links patients with the right medical specialist.

Doctify allows patients to search for a health specialist for 47 different medical specialities, including cardiology, oncology and paediatrics. Patients can read reviews from other patients and information about each provider.

Enterprise Capital Fund partner Amadeus has led the last two funding rounds for Doctify, with funding used to develop the product, build the executive team and fuel growth. Doctify is today the UK’s leading healthcare review platform with sales doubling every year for the past three years.

case study

The Bank has worked to improve diversity by supporting finance providers in the following areas.

Challenger banks

While 2018 saw a generally favourable commercial market for capital raising, we continued to work with challenger banks, including investing £25m in a tier 2 issue from Secure Trust Bank.

FinTech

In 2018/19 we committed £25m to business cash advance provider Liberis. As part of our ongoing support to the peer-to-peer (P2P) sector, we extended the investment period for Funding Circle and Market Invoice, and made a £20m commitment to ESF Capital (operator of the ThinCats P2P platform), participating alongside institutional and retail investors.

Case study

FungiAlert

Maps Rothamsted

Programme: Enterprise Capital Fund

FungiAlert provides soil and water health screening. Their patented technology, SporSenZ, is the first, in-the-field sensor which samples microorganisms in soil and water.

Analysis of samples alerts growers to the risk of infection before visible symptoms appear, leading to improved disease management strategies, increased yields, and improved soil-health. In 2017, founders Kerry Weaver and Angela de Manzanos raised £420,000 in a funding round led by Sussex Place Ventures – £370,000 through an Enterprise Capital Fund – to hire new team members, purchase key equipment and undertake field trials. After launching their first product, they raised a further £350k to build an experienced sales team, support product development research and to expand internationally.

Case study

Asset finance and asset-based lending

We continued our support for these types of finance in 2018/19, including a £12m commitment from our BBI Investment Programme and £210m through ENABLE Funding. We also accredited nine providers under the new asset finance variant of our flagship Enterprise Finance Guarantee programme.

Direct lending funds

In 2018/19 British Business Investments made three transactions with a total value of £115m. This takes our direct lending lifetime commitments to £529m.

Case study

Bobbin Bikes

Maps London

Programme: British Business Investments – FinTech

Founders Tom and Sian were inspired to create Bobbin Bikes after a trip to Amsterdam.

Back in London, they soon realised that no shops were selling the bikes they had grown to love in the Netherlands.

Founded in 2007, Bobbin Bikes offers a range of bicycles for everyday cyclists across the world and is known for its brightly-coloured bikes with long handlebars and baskets.

In 2016 the team decided to add a new online sales channel to go with their shop. They needed financial support to buy more stock and fulfil their new orders. After contacting Funding Circle, a partner in British Business Investments’ FinTech portfolio, the team received £250,000 to implement their growth plans.

Case study

At a glance

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