While the UK has numerous tech hubs, including London being the biggest and then Manchester, Cambridge and others, the Midlands is another region in the country that has a lot of potential and home to one of the most significant regional fintech clusters in the UK.
Now, Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) has announced to have crossed £100 million investment in the region’s small businesses.
The milestone was reached by the fund after making 481 investments in 350 businesses located in the West Midlands and East and South East Midlands, which helped in creating 809 jobs so far. Further, an additional £90 million of private sector leverage has also been secured as a result of the MEIF’s investments to date.
This follows the Fund regularly unlocking additional funding rounds and investing with other traditional and private investors in supporting small businesses across the Midlands.
In 2017, the Government’s British Business Bank launched the £250 million Fund to improve the financial landscape for Midlands small businesses.
MEIF Funding breakdown
- Debt Finance: £44 million
- Equity Finance: £29 million
- Small Business Loans: £15 million
- Proof-of-Concept: £12 million
The manufacturing sector is the most active sector for funding, with 113 investments totalling £21 million. The business sectors such as medical technologies, life sciences, transport and sustainable energy are among the sectors funded by MEIF.
Recent funding from MEIF
MEIF’s recent funding example is £250k funding to Fertility Focus, a Warwick-based Medtech creating revolutionary fertility monitoring products. The company will use the investment for expanding its research & development.
In the East-Midland area, the Fund also invested £250k in gin distiller Burleighs Gin to scale-up the operations by creating new jobs and expanding internationally with plans to enter the US.
In the East Midlands, the Fund recently backed Leicestershire gin distiller, Burleighs Gin, with a £250k investment to scale-up its operations – creating new jobs and enabling the business to expand its presence internationally, with plans to enter the US market.
Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said:
“The resilience and agility of our regional economy are strongly linked to the significant population of SMEs in the Midlands. They are the lifeblood of our region’s creative ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. But SMEs in particular have felt the full brunt of the challenges of the last 12 months. So now, more than ever, they need confidence, clarity and certainty about the future, along with access to finance, to help them grow and realise their potential.”
“This £100 million milestone of investment in our SMEs shows how powerful the Midlands Engine Investment Fund has been; an extremely valuable route through which regional firms can access the finance they need for growth. Demand has been consistently strong for MEIF and its impact has been high, enabling firms to improve workforce skills, increase R&D investments and move many more products towards commercialisation.”
Commenting on the milestone, Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer at the British Business Bank, said:
“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to address a market gap in the finance available to small businesses in the region. Access to finance can be critical in enabling businesses to explore new opportunities and expand. Without it, business growth stalls.”
“The British Business Bank and MEIF have continued to support Midlands’ businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering much needed finance and helping many to navigate the accompanying disruption, while still fulfilling their ambitions.”
Jon Corbett, Chair of the Strategic Oversight Board, added:
“Through our seven fund managers, network of Local Enterprise Partnerships, intermediaries and other partners, we have fostered a real sense of regional collaboration. This has been pivotal to the £100 million delivered to date and will continue to play an important role as the Fund transforms the finance landscape for small businesses across the Midlands.”
Investments from the MEIF are made by seven fund managers working across the West Midlands and East and South East Midlands and are supported by a network of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The Fund offers debt and equity investment between £25k to £2 million.
Meanwhile, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.