Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Midlands Engine Investment Fund briefing a roaring success

Local businesses from across Nottinghamshire had the chance to learn about the recent funding opportunities available through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) at a breakfast briefing event arranged by Nottingham Professional Services (NPS) and D2N2 Growth Hub. The event took place on Friday 18th  May at the offices of patent attorneys, Potter Clarkson.

Over 60 professionals attended the briefing which featured presentations from four MEIF fund managers who outlined the new opportunities available for businesses. This included how they can access the £250m fund, which can provide loans of between £25,000 and £1.5m and also proof of concept/equity finance from £50,000 to £2m.

The MEIF, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, provides commercially focused finance through Small Business Loans, Debt Finance, Proof of Concept and Equity Finance Funds. The aim of the fund is to transform the finance landscape for smaller businesses in the East Midlands in order to realise the region’s economic growth potential. The MEIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten LEPs across the Midlands.

On behalf of D2N2, John O’Donnell firstly addressed concerns that as the MEIF is being European funded, the initiative would be withdrawn following Brexit.

Responding, he said,

“People say ‘well, if the growth hub is European funded, doesn’t that mean it will end in 2019?’ Well it was going to, but we are hoping, and I’m pretty confident, that there will be a roll out again until 2022 and the second version will be a better, more enhanced version.”

Also asked to speak was Lewis Stringer, MEIF Senior Relationship Manager at British Business Bank. He highlighted the significance of the breakfast briefing and the fund itself to help reduce the regional disparities in available funding opportunities for businesses located outside of London and the South East.

The fund managers then each presented their information on how businesses within the Midlands region could access the finance that suited their needs.

Victoria Copestake, Business Development Manager at First Enterprise, explained that her firm had £13m funding to offer through loans ranging from £25k to £150k. She stated that the funding First Enterprise offered was available to start ups, micro businesses and SME’s who would contribute towards regional growth.

Jonathan Lowe, Investment Director at Maven Capital Partners, stated that Maven was responsible for managing a fund of £90m split £50m to West Midlands and £40m to East and South East Midlands, with Maven able to offers loans to eligible businesses ranging between £100,000 and £1.5m. He explained their Investment process and that funds would only be granted to established businesses, not start-ups.

Sandy Reid, Investment Manager at Mercia Funds, expressed she was responsible for managing the Proof of Concept and Early Stage Funds. Mercia manages a fund of £23m  across the midlands which is to be granted to technology focussed businesses who demonstrated global market potential. Sandy explained that Mercia were able to grant loans between £100k and £750k.

Ben Dawson, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight, has a fund of £35m which he intends to give through loans varying from £50k to £2m. He explained that Foresight had specific funding criteria and were looking for exciting growth businesses that required equity funding to help launch new products or had a strong management team.

In a post presentation Q&A, delegates expressed concerns about not knowing who to contact in order to access the right funding. The fund managers eased their concerns by responding that the fund managers were regularly in contact with each other and would happily refer the enquiry to the relevant fund manager if it was more appropriate.

The event was organised by NPS committee member John Murphy, from Sterling Capital Reserve, commenting he said,

“The role of NPS is to arrange events which help businesses and advisers in Nottingham to work together and create economic prosperity for our region.

By arranging this event here in Nottingham for those who were unable to attend the previous events held in Derby, Leicester and Lincoln, NPS has helped raise awareness and knowledge and enabled local businesses to understand how to access funding.”




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