Regional fund invests almost £65m in Midlands small firms creating hundreds of new jobs

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A new report has revealed that a fund set up to help small firms across the Midlands grow has so far invested almost £65 million in the region’s businesses.

The £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) was launched by the Government’s British Business Bank three years ago to support SMEs.

Now, an assessment report has revealed that so far £64.8 million has been invested in 257 businesses, creating 629 jobs in the process.

The report was carried out by economic researchers SQW, supported by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research at Middlesex University, Belmana and BMG Research.

It found that MEIF had boosted research, development and innovation investment in small businesses.

And it found that 60% of those who has received support had reported increased turnover with high export rates.

The MEIF is continuing to invest via its seven fund managers throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.

A Black Country-based designer and manufacturer of power supply units and battery charging systems is one of the latest businesses to secure a funding boost.

PSU Designs, which has a large design and manufacturing facility in West Bromwich, secured an £85,000 investment from BCRS Business Loans via the Midlands Engine Investment Fund in conjunction with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The fund also recently supported a £1.2 million funding round for Coventry-based Sarissa Biomedical which has developed a potentially lifesaving device for diagnosing strokes.

Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank, said: “The last few months have not been easy for small businesses in the UK.

“This includes the Midlands, where the British Business Bank has already identified a gap in the provision of SME finance.

“This new report, however, reveals that through the MEIF we are making a positive difference, with the region’s businesses accessing investment to develop innovative products, hire and upskill staff, and most importantly grow.

“We are committed to building on the fund’s progress and sustaining strong levels of support. The bank is also operating a range of other initiatives to enable businesses to access finance at this time.”

Communities Secretary and Midlands Engine Champion, Robert Jenrick, said: “We recognise that small businesses have faced significant challenges over the last few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and we have ensured financial support is available to businesses across the Midlands who are in need of it.

“Our Midlands Engine Investment Fund bolsters and strengthens our great Midlands businesses for the future.

“A thriving Midlands Engine is pivotal to the nation’s economy and this fund will play its role in levelling up the region.”

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