ThinCats, the SME lender, has partnered with BizBritain to launch a £50 million funding programme to support growing SMEs in the Midlands.
ThinCats, who are based in Ashby, Leicestershire and who also have offices in Birmingham, Sheffield and London, has so far lent over £340m to Britain’s SMEs, including £70m in the Midlands. The initiative is in response to a growing funding gap in the Midlands – estimated to be in excess of £360m – as high street banks withdraw from business lending and step up the rate of branch closures.
Funding is now available for West Midlands based SMEs looking for £100k to £10m, with applications for finance between £100k-500k facilitated by BizBritain, who have helped over 1000 Midlands SMEs gain access to finance. No region outside of London and the South East has yet seen GDP per capita return to 2007 levels. Improving the supply and demand for finance among high-growth firms in all regions will help to deliver better economic outcomes nationally and reduce regional inequalities.
This news follows ThinCats’ recent appointment of Geraint Regan - qualified chartered accountant, Geraint has more than 20 years’ experience in banking and corporate finance – as director of regional business development for the West Midlands.
Damon Walford, chief development officer, ThinCats, commented:
“Earlier this year, the British Business Bank revealed that SMEs in London received more funding than any other region in the UK combined. The government has tried to tackle this regional funding gap with initiatives such as the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and whilst this is a very promising start, there is room for other programmes as well.
“One of the key challenges lies in the fact that businesses still predominantly turn to their main bank for finance and are less aware of the growing number of alternatives. As a Midlands-based business, we feel a deep affinity to the area and a responsibility to help close the funding gap here.”
Gary Lennon, business development director, BizBritain, commented:
“This is an exciting time for local SMEs, with the West Midlands being the fastest growing regional economy outside of London and growing businesses require support and finance to achieve their ambitions.
“Working alongside ThinCats, as local people who live and work here, we are keen to help SMEs obtain funding that accelerates their future growth and adds to the region’s prosperity.”