The new Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) plans to invest £250m in the region’s small businesses over the next five years but, at a recent launch, Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace revealed that he is looking at a long–term target four times that size.
The aim of MEIF is to overcome an imbalance in business growth funding in the Midlands. Our region is home to almost 15 per cent of UK businesses, but receives just four per cent of the country’s equity investment, a situation dubbed a “market failure” by Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank (BBB).
MEIF consolidates funds from a number of institutions including BBB, the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund, the UK government and ten local enterprise partnerships. It started making loans in 2017 and on 22 February 2018 launched its £100m equity element.
Speaking at the launch, Magee said, “We also need to get more of those local angel investors based in the Midlands to look closer to home. There’s a risk that the London market is getting over-heated and that there are better opportunities here”.
Nick Pulley, the chairman of MEIF, confirmed that he has spoken with Sir John about increasing the fund to £1bn, a move which would enable it to support even more Midlands micro businesses and SMEs, creating a legacy of growth and building a better future for business in the region.
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