Enterprise Ventures, which provides finance for SMEs, has enjoyed another record year, completing 220 deals with a combined value of £30m.
The figures highlight the Preston-based firm’s role in supporting small firms at a time when bank lending has continued to fall.
It brings the total invested by the company in the past four years to over £100m.
During that time it completed around 780 transactions – equivalent to four deals every working week.
According to an independent report compiled during 2014, the majority of Enterprise Ventures’ loans and investments have gone into the most deprived regions in the UK.
Enterprise Ventures, which also has offices in Liverpool, Manchester, and Dodworth in Yorkshire, manages 18 specially-targeted SME funds raised from the public and private sectors providing venture capital, growth capital and loans.
They include The North West Fund for Venture Capital, The North West Fund for Mezzanine, Lancashire’s Rosebud Finance and the Coalfields Funds.
Key deals during 2014 included a £2.5m investment in Winning Pitch, the coaching and business support specialist; a £750,000 investment in DataCentred, which is led by Telecity founder Dr Mike Kelly and is launching a series of data centres in the north; and a significant investment in agrochemical business Redag Crop Protection, to allow its de-merger from its parent company Redx Pharma.
Jonathan Diggines, chief executive of Enterprise Ventures, said: “The landscape for small business finance has changed for good. Although the economy is recovering, there is no sign of the banks returning to the market.
“Enterprise Ventures has been playing a key role in supporting small business growth and generating jobs and prosperity in deprived areas. The recent Big Issue Invest report has outlined the important part that alternative finance providers can play in rebalancing the UK economy away from London.”
Enterprise Ventures is one of the leading providers of venture capital, growth capital and loans to small businesses in the UK.