Funding boost for SMEs

Barclays and the NatWest have launched funds specifically aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, with Barclays channelling cash towards the Northern Powerhouse and NatWest aiming to support manufacturing and technology sectors.

Barclays is launching a £500 million growth fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the north of England, dubbed the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. The fund is part of the bank’s commitment to support the Government initiative, which aims to boost manufacturing, transport and logistics firms.

The fund also aims to help established businesses with ambitious growth plans, start-ups with high growth potential, firms with early-stage equity funding and businesses focusing on innovation, research and development (R&D) and technology.

Under the Northern Powerhouse Growth Fund, businesses can get an overdraft of up to £250,000, without the need for property security, for transport, business services, wholesales and manufacturing firms.

They can also get up to £25,000 of term lending fee-free, plus up to £100,000 of lending, without the need for tangible security and cash flow funding, to invest in acquisitions and organic business growth. As well as this, they can get lending and debt support, which can be combined with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Meanwhile, NatWest has said it will lend an extra £1 billion to SMEs over the next year, which is specifically designed to help UK businesses invest in technology, R&D and manufacturing.

As a spokeswoman for the bank said, SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy and there is more that can be done to support them. She added that the bank has changed its culture since the financial crisis and is “deeply sorry” for the way restructuring banks mistreated thousands of small firms.

Nigel Fry, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “SMEs need to keep up to speed with the latest news in relation to growth funds – as you never know when a new fund might pop-up that’s perfect for your business.”

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