The British Business Bank is a government-owned financial institution set up to support economic growth by making finance markets work better for smaller businesses in the UK.
It uses funding and guarantees backed by the government to bring more private sector resources into small business lending and investment.
Smaller businesses don’t obtain finance directly from the British Business Bank – it makes its impact from generating more activity by the private sector.
The British Business Bank is seeking to increase both the level and diversity of funding options available to smaller businesses in the UK.
It aims to leverage private sector capital to create £10bn of funds for UK businesses by the end of March 2019.
What does the British Business Bank do?
The British Business Bank provides finance and applies guarantees through commercial lenders and investors, who use these financial resources – together with their own money – to lend to or invest in smaller UK businesses.
It operates right across finance markets, from supporting early-stage equity funding, through the provision of growth capital, to senior debt for established SMEs, and will share in any returns on investments made. It then recycles these back into further lending and investment.
Its commercial arm, British Business Bank Investments Ltd, aims to earn a commercial return by investing debt and equity into providers of finance to smaller businesses and small mid-caps on a fully commercial basis, without receiving any advantage from the government.
The British Business Bank also provides advice to the UK government on smaller business finance issues, including the setting up of HM Treasury’s Finance Platforms initiative. If one of the big banks rejects a small business for finance, they will be obliged to offer the business a referral to a designated online finance platform, which can offer additional opportunities to them to secure the finance they need. SMEs can also go directly to online brokers to find alternative finance.
The British Business Bank supports smaller UK businesses in three broad areas:
- Start-up – mentoring and funds to ‘be your own boss’
- Scale-up – finance for businesses growing quickly or those with the potential to do so
- Stay ahead – more funding options and greater choice of providers for expansion and working capital.