Regional funders key to the future

Spending: Targeting priority sectors can help cities like Preston, says a report
Spending: Targeting priority sectors can help cities like Preston, says a report
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Regionally-based funders will play a key role in rebalancing the UK economy away from London and strengthening the economies of city regions like Preston, according to new research.

The study by Big Issue Invest identifies specific ways to create a more balanced economy – by investing in SMEs in the regions, concentrating on deprived areas and focusing on priority sectors like manufacturing and export.

The report highlighted how Preston-based Enterprise Ventures sustained a high level of investment from 2010 onwards at a time when private equity investment and bank lending was flat or declined.

The Big Issue Invest survey shows the majority of Enterprise Ventures’ 400-plus loans and investments have gone into the most deprived regions in the UK.

The Preston-based venture capitalist believes that its most important role will be to help build a regional platform for SME investment outside the South East.

Jonathan Diggines, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ventures, said: “We have invested £344m in nearly 850 SMEs since 2002 and wanted to understand the wider social value that our investments have created.

“We strongly believe that this report gives some indication of the fundamental part that venture capital investment must play in rebalancing the UK’s regional economies.”

The report comes as a Preston-based bridging finance company has joined forces with a Manchester law firm to target up to £25million in new regional property lending.

Mayfair Bridging and Fieldfisher from Manchester have built a bridging finance product for North West investors and property entrepreneurs.

Typically, money lent will be available to aid auction property acquisitions, new build developments and various refurbishment projects ranging from £30,000 to £2.5 million per loan.

Mayfair divisional director Yasin Patel said: “Property investors need the power to make quick decisions, as the speed of arranging finance can often make or break a deal.”

Mayfair Bridging is on target to reach its £100million lending milestone in 2015.