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British Business Bank unveils £70m Northern Ireland fund

British Business Bank Northern Ireland
Image credit: Shutterstock

British Business Bank has unveiled a £70m Northern Ireland fund to invest in small business growth as part of its regional investment strategy.

The Northern Ireland fund will launch in the autumn and supply equity investments up to £5m and loans ranging from £25,000 to £2m.

Ken Cooper, MD of venture solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “The overall levels of equity investment and also private debt lending remain much lower than Northern Ireland’s share of the UK’s small business population.”

“Hence we’ll be working closely with the local small business finance ecosystem to ensure the fund provides support to innovative, ambitious business owners across the country.”

Part of the bank’s Nations and Regions Investment Funds, it joins the state-owned development bank’s recently announced funds in the South West, Scotland and Wales.

Startups residing in Northern Ireland include the Autonomous recycling startup REP-TEC, which yesterday secured a £300,000 loan to add 15 people to its team, Sensoteq and Changeover Technologies.

Northern Ireland is already home to active investor Clarendon Fund Managers’ Co-Fund NI, part of British Business Investments’ Regional Angels Programme. The fund at the start of the year made its 100th investment into Belfast-based IT firm Kinsetsu.

“Given the geographical spread of Northern Ireland’s smaller business population, connecting with entrepreneurs in some of the more rural and hard-to-reach areas will be an important focus of the fund,” added Cooper.

Plans are also underway by British Business Bank for “follow-on funds” for the North of England and the Midlands.