BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, announced that it has committed £2 billion into UK and Irish SMEs, £380m of which has been invested into Midlands SMEs.
The landmark capital investment was reached following £7.5m of growth funding for Merseyside-based manufacturer Joloda International, as well as BGF’s most active day ever for capital deployment in mid-June, with a total of £48m committed.
BGF has backed more than 45 businesses based in the region, with many companies receiving follow-on funding to support further growth. Recent investments include Telford returns management platform ReBOUND, Stoke-based waste management business Red Industries and BioCity, the UK’s largest life sciences incubator based in Nottingham.
Reflecting the increased investment activity, BGF recently opened a new office in the landmark Lewis Building in Birmingham, a 12,000 sq ft space to house its growing team of investors and to provide a city centre base for its portfolio companies.
From scratch, BGF has now backed 285 companies across the UK and Ireland since it was set up in 2011, providing growth funding in every region and almost every sector of the economy, with over 70% committed to businesses based outside of London and the South East.
The investor has also recently made several successful exits including unified communications provider, GCI based in Lincoln and MPK Garages in Leicester, which BGF exited in August 2018. The proceeds of these exits are recycled back to BGF’s £2.5bn balance sheet as an intrinsic part of its evergreen funding model.
Gurinder Sunner, Head of Midlands of BGF, said: “When we started BGF in 2011, the mission was clear – we wanted to establish a new, regionally-focused funding model to support British businesses and entrepreneurs over a long-term horizon. The fact that we set up headquarters in Birmingham was a strong message to the market that our approach would be different.
“In eight years, we have backed ambitious entrepreneurs across all four corners of the Midlands and opened further offices in Milton Keynes and Nottingham to support this growth. It’s a huge achievement for our team but also testament to the strength of businesses and advisers in the region. We’re looking forward to seeing more entrepreneurs using our capital not only to scale up their own business, but to drive economic activity, and increase employment, exports and growth.”
Early this year BGF launched a new campaign, ‘Ready for Business’ – an initiative to see investors confidently advocate for continued growth, committing to entrepreneurs and investing in the age of uncertainty. BGF has delivered on this promise and recognises the need to do even more with a weakening economy and heightened concerns.
Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, said: “The BGF model is not based on a conventional fund – we are a company, with a strong and liquid balance sheet, set up for long-term investing and long-term growth. This is a core part of our appeal to entrepreneurs, vital in meeting the funding gap for growth companies in Britain and Ireland, and I’m delighted to see our model being embraced and adopted internationally. This is a great example of the UK’s proven leadership in Financial Services, through carefully planned regulatory changes, to deliver a completely new investment model.”
BGF’s Birmingham office recently hosted a Ready for Business event which saw more than 100 entrepreneurs gather to discuss the potential of the Midlands economy and the role businesses and investors can play going forward to position the region for global growth.