British Business Bank’s £130m Wales fund to launch in autumn

British Business Bank Wales

A £130m regional investment fund targeting companies in Wales from the British Business Bank is set to launch early in Autumn 2023.

Louis Taylor, CEO of British Business Bank, confirmed the launch date of the Wales investment fund, which was first announced in the 2021 Autumn statement by then-chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“We are delighted there is not only a Wales fund but for the two other devolved nations and some other regions of the UK as well,” said Taylor.

“We have proved the value of regional funds through our existing Northern Powerhouse Fund, which is almost fully invested, and the Midlands Engine as well.

“We will launch the process here in Wales with a request for proposals from fund managers in March and anticipate the fund (all elements) to be operational and starting to distribute money in early autumn.”

The fund will follow other regional investment projects from the British Business Bank, a state-owned development bank created to invest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

January of this year saw the announcement of a £150m fund targeting Scottish SMEs from the development bank. Similar funds in Northern Ireland and the South West of England have also been announced.

The Welsh fund will likely follow a similar investment strategy to the Scottish fund, which will provide loans ranging from £25,000 to £2m, alongside equity investments of up to £5m.

Taylor explained the considerable gap between the announcement of the Welsh fund and the implementation date, saying: “It is really important to land these funds well. So, we spent some time in the summer and through the autumn talking to people and organisations locally about what is needed.”

Taylor was appointed as the British Business Bank chief executive in June 2022. He comes from an investment background, having worked for JP Morgan, among other firms.