BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses, today celebrates five years of growth.
Set up in May 2011 to fill a funding gap for Britain’s growing smaller and medium sized businesses, BGF has since invested over £174 million in 24 of the North’s most ambitious companies.
In Yorkshire, BGF has invested £58 million across seven companies including specialist printer York Mailing, which it has partially exited last year following a period of sustained and significant growth, and Leeds-based budget gym chain Xercise4Less, which announced in February plans to open a further 15 to 20 gyms across the UK in the next year. In total, these businesses employ close to 2,000 people and generate revenue of £160 million.
BGF’s birthday milestone follows its strongest ever quarter; nationally BGF invested over £100 million in the first three months of 2016 and is on course to pass £1 billion in committed investments later this year – a clear signal of the growing demand for this type of support among Britain’s entrepreneurial businesses.
Andy Gregory, BGF regional director for the North, said: “BGF was set up five years ago to provide a new type of funding for small and mid-sized companies. Since then, we have invested in well-known retail brands as well as businesses operating in niche sectors – this is testament to the range of growing and ambitious companies in the North West.
“One of our roles over the past five years has been to help the business owners and management teams we back feel reenergised and confident about pursuing growth once their capital constraints have been removed. After a great start in 2016, we are looking forward to supporting and funding many more businesses over the next five years and beyond.”
Stephen Welton, chief executive of BGF, said: “More than the obvious symbolism of our fifth birthday milestone, we can now show that BGF investment is making a real difference to more and more companies in terms of faster growth, more jobs, new products, new markets, innovation and exporting success.
“Above all this is £850 million that would not have been invested without BGF, and when we consider the multiplier effect that equity capital has the overall impact is even greater. With a very healthy pipeline I am confident we will pass £1 billion later this year.”
In the last 12 months, BGF has expanded its reach with the launch of BGF Ventures, which with £200million is the UK’s largest ever venture capital fund focused solely on earlier stage UK tech companies, and BGF Quoted, which offers a new and additional source of capital for smaller UK companies listed on AIM.