The head of the British Business Bank is placing special importance on growing companies in the North as the nation seeks to boost its economy.
CEO Keith Morgan spoke to an audience of several hundred entrepreneurs, investors and local businesses at Venturefest in Manchester.
He told BusinessCloud that despite the £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, many high-growth businesses operating in the area don’t believe they have access to the finance they need.
“We’re trying to create opportunities for companies to grow,” he said.
“Growing companies are really important to the economy, across the country but especially in the North and North West.
“I wanted to tell [these high-growth firms] about the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and how we’ve committed £400m of funding to that, which will help those companies to grow.”
There is money for everyone if you know where to find it, he insists.
“We’ve got start-up loans up to £25,000 just to get your feet on the first rung of the ladder,” he said.
“The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will take you from £25,000 of lending all the way through to £2m of equity and if you want more you’ve got further finance options through the venture capital fund.
“So I think if you know where to find it and have got the right pitch, if you’ve got a really investable business, finance will be there for you.”
As well as providing funding, the British Business Bank is also playing a key role in demystifying where businesses should look for it.
“People find it difficult to find the money they need,” said Morgan.
“There’s also a situation where people aren’t quite sure what kind of funding is right for them.
“We think there’s a need both to present the options but also give people more information about what’s available, so we’ve got the Business Finance Guide which is great for people to look at online – it’s very straightforward.
“It gives you an idea of what finance you can get, where you can find it and what might be right for you at your stage of growth. I would recommend people look at it.
“If you’re running a business then you are 24/7 running that business and you can’t afford to be an expert in finance at the same time.”
It’s vital that companies have a good understanding of the basics to get themselves off to a good start, advises Morgan.
“It’s really important people do know what’s out there, and that they’ve got a good plan and can communicate that plan to investors – that’s the baseline,” he said.
“Beyond that it’s about which investors you want – whether that’s angel financing and what benefits that brings or whether you’re thinking about venture capital.
“Perhaps you’re cash flow positive and can get some debt finance. Understanding all of that is what’s important.”