Ensuring businesses have access to appropriate finance is key to an enterprising region. Entrepreneurs need finance to start new businesses and existing businesses need it to realise opportunities for growth.
Advantage West Midlands understood this requirement and acted to ensure that crucial financial support was made available. The Agency established the Regional Finance Forum which in turn helped develop the Access to Finance Framework.
The Agency also played a key role in identifying market failures that had created gaps in the supply of finance. The Agency worked closely with business advisors and support providers, central Government, banks and other private sector financiers to plug these gaps and make access to finance as comprehensive and simple as possible.
This work, coupled with Agency investment, increased the supply and range of finance available to regional businesses - from equity-based finance through to loans and direct grants. The resulting suite of finance products really makes a difference to businesses in the West Midlands.
The region’s venture capital funds have invested over £61 million into over 230 businesses, leveraging in a further £170 million of investment from other sources.
The Advantage Transition Bridge Fund has lent over £11 million to 66 businesses, providing a welcome source of finance during the worst of the credit crunch
The Advantage Proof of Concept Grant helped nearly 200 businesses explore innovative ideas with grant support of approximately £5 million
The Agency’s support has also grown the capacity and activity levels of the region’s business angels, providing an ongoing source of business angel funding for young, growing businesses.
Grant for Business Investment, operated by the Agency on behalf of BIS, has supported approximately 100 business annually with nearly £10 million grant funding towards capital investment, improving productivity and employment prospects. GBI examples are Barnshaw Section Benders in the Black Country and Olympus Engineering in Stoke-on-Trent.
Grant for Research and Development has provided approximately £1.5 million annually in support of R&D activity amongst SMEs and Agency support to Community Development Finance Institutions has enabled them to lend over £5 million to more than 250 businesses during 2009/10. They continue to have ERDF support available to help them maintain the activity.
A number of these venture capital funds, along with other grants and loans continue to have funds available for investment. For further information visit westmidlandsfinance.com
Access to Finance Framework - PDF - 43kb
Finance and Grants for West Midlands Businesses - PDF - 653kb