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Back to News Director of regional funding at British Business Bank quoted in article

12th August 2020

Calls for increased awareness of finance options in Leicester and Leicestershire as MEIF invests £6.5m

Business leaders from across Leicester and Leicestershire are today (Thursday 6 August 2020) encouraging firms to access the finance options available to help manage and recover from the coronavirus.

The awareness drive is supported by the British Business Bank, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP) and Business Gateway Growth Hub, Leicester City Council, and East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire).

Today’s united message follows the further lockdown in the city and surrounding area with some businesses now opening up and starting their recovery. As localised restrictions are eased further, the group of business leaders are calling for a renewed focus on the role of finance in supporting cash flow, returning to normal operations and supporting company growth.

Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and strategic oversight board member for the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), said:

“Some of the UK’s most innovative, ambitious and resilient businesses are located in Leicester and Leicestershire. While the last few months have been challenging, we will bounce back.

“Today’s awareness drive is to highlight the finance options available to businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire. This funding can be used to manage the interruptions caused by the coronavirus and support long-term business recovery.”

Funding available to businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire

  • Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) – providing between £25k - £2 million of debt and equity finance to businesses based in the West Midlands and East and South Midlands

Peter Chandler, Head of Economic Regeneration at Leicester City Council, said:

“We have seen many Leicester businesses responding positively to the challenges imposed by the recent lockdown. I would encourage all businesses to consider the financial support available to support their ongoing sustainability and growth.”

David Pearson, Director of Partnerships at East Midlands Chamber, said:

“The Chamber has broadly welcomed the range of finance options available to business during this crisis, and firms in Leicester should remember that all these schemes are still available to help them see their way through the recovery phase following the easing of the localised lockdown.

“Leicester has a strong and resilient business culture which will ultimately shine through by looking after cashflow and investing for the future.”

Funding delivery

The British Business Bank’s Midlands Engine Investment Fund has supported 36 loans to businesses based in Leicester and Leicestershire. This equates to over £6.5 million of investment from the Fund which is available to businesses in the West Midlands and East and South-East Midlands.

Earlier in July, Leicestershire homeware wholesaler Fifty One Percent received a £250k finance package from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This is allowing the firm to hire four additional staff, while expanding its product line and sales and marketing function.

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said:

“As Leicester businesses come out of an extended lockdown it is important that they are aware of the funding options available to them. External finance can provide small businesses with working capital and help to ensure premises are COVID-19 compliant and support cashflow.

“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund and the wider COVID-19 schemes through the British Business Bank provide a range of finance options. We join our partners in Leicester and Leicestershire in encouraging businesses to assess their finance options and also take advantage of wider support from the Business Gateway Growth Hub and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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