British Business Bank supports more small firms

The UK's national economic development bank has increased its support for small businesses and has invested in more than 59,000 SMEs in the past year.

Annual reports for 2016-17 reveal that the British Business Bank has increased its supply of finance to smaller businesses - with the total stock of finance provided through Bank programmes rising by 24% to £9.2bn.

More than 59,000 small and medium-sized companies have received a loan or investment through the Bank's programmes this year and an additional £717m has been committed through delivery partners to increase the supply of finance to the market.

The British Business Bank was launched in 2014; its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Bank says that it has created a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses, with 94% of its support being delivered through smaller, newer or alternative finance providers.

Also this year, the British Business Bank launched the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and joined forces with the Start Up Loans Company. In addition, it launched Help To Grow, a programme that targets smaller businesses with high growth potential.

Keith Morgan, ceo of the British Business Bank said: "It has been a year of significant expansion for the Bank and, as our market impact continues to grow, we are well placed to respond flexibly to challenges ahead, helping to increase the amount and range of finance available to smaller UK businesses."

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the British Business Bank, said: "By the start of 2016/17, the British Business Bank had successfully moved from start-up phase to delivering strongly against a significantly evolving political and economic background. Over the year it has substantially scaled up its programmes and broadened its support for smaller businesses across the UK."

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