BGF investment reaches £2bn milestone into UK SMEs


BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, has announced it has committed £2bn into UK and Irish SMEs from its balance sheet of £2.5bn.

The landmark capital investment was reached following £7.5m of growth funding for Merseyside-based manufacturer Joloda International, as well as BGF’s most active day ever for capital deployment in mid-June, with a total of £48m committed.

In spite of Brexit uncertainty, but consistent with BGF’s Ready for Business campaign, more than £160m was invested in the first six months of the year alone, across 55 deals including initial investments and follow-on funding into the existing portfolio.

From scratch, BGF has now backed 285 companies across the UK and Ireland since it was set up in 2011, providing growth funding in every region and almost every sector of the economy, showing the continuing power of the UK’s entrepreneurs.

Over 70% of the £2bn has been committed to businesses based outside of London and the South East. This has included £300m in the Midlands, £270m in the South West, £500m in the North and £225m in Scotland, powered by BGF’s network of 14 offices and the largest nationwide pool of independent directors.

BGF’s most northern portfolio company is independent care home provider Parklands Group based in Moray in Scotland and the most southern is Cornish clothing and lifestyle brand Seasalt.

Some of BGF’s recent investments include Dublin-based family-owned housebuilder Winterbrook, property services business Extentia Group, web-hosting company Miss Group and airspace property developer Apex.

The investor has also recently made several successful exits including employee benefits provider Benefex, BGF’s first ever investment, care service provider The Good Care Group, Aberdeen-based software solutions provider Petrotechnics, and tax credit specialists, Jumpstart. The proceeds of these exits are recycled back to BGF’s balance sheet as an intrinsic part of its evergreen funding model.

Stephen Welton, CEO and Founder of BGF said, “BGF’s founding mission was to establish a brand-new model, regionally focused and initially investing up to £10m per company to support British businesses and entrepreneurs over a long-term horizon.

“From scratch, we have built the world’s most active growth investor by number of transactions, making more than one investment per week and investing up to £0.5bn a year. Despite the Brexit-fuelled headwinds, we have continued to sustain our pace of investing, deploying much needed long-term capital into many of the UK and Ireland’s most exciting companies.

“We have backed brilliant and ambitious entrepreneurs in every region and nearly every sector of the economy. Our aim was to create a diversified portfolio with diversified risk, meeting the aspirations of our shareholders and other stakeholders to support growth and innovation, whilst giving us the ability to properly back the UK enterprise economy and the nations entrepreneurs.”

Welton added, “The BGF model is not based on a conventional fund we are a company, with a strong and liquid balance sheet, set up for long-term investing and long-term growth. This is a core part of our appeal to entrepreneurs, vital in meeting the funding gap for growth companies in Britain and Ireland, and I’m delighted to see our model being embraced and adopted internationally. This is a great example of the UK’s proven leadership in Financial Services, through carefully planned regulatory changes, to deliver a completely new investment model.”

A specific highlight of the last 12 months was the launch of the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF), modelled on BGF’s approach of providing patient, minority capital that keeps entrepreneurs in control of their business. The CBGF has since backed six businesses, deploying $63m in growth capital and the collaboration between the two BGF’s goes from strength to strength.

Early this year BGF launched a new campaign, ‘Ready for Business’ an initiative to see investors confidently advocate for continued growth, committing to entrepreneurs and investing in the age of uncertainty. BGF has delivered on this promise and recognises the need to do even more with a weakening economy and heightened concerns.