Early assessment of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund

The £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund was launched by the British Business Bank in 2017 to support small businesses in the Midlands. SQW, supported by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research at Middlesex University, Belmana and BMG Research, was commissioned to evaluate the Fund.

Our Early Assessment Report charting the Fund’s progress between August 2017 and September 2019 has now been published.  The research, which was completed before the Covid-19 crisis, found that the Fund has helped to create 629 jobs, with 37 per cent paying above the UK upper quartile income of £36,500 a year.  

The research also found that the reasons for setting up the Fund remain robust and highly relevant, spotlighting its impact in improving the delivery of equity finance in the Midlands after supporting 20% of all equity deals in the region. Other key findings from the report include:

  • 90 per cent of researched investee businesses confirmed that the additional equity funding they raised was either ‘entirely’ or ‘largely’ attributable to the MEIF
  • 68 per cent of businesses had used investment to increase skills in their workforces
  • Across debt and equity deals, 37 per cent of businesses stated that that they would either ‘probably not’ or ‘definitely not’ have secured finance without the Fund
  • 84 per cent of businesses revealed they now have a greater confidence in raising private sector finance
  • 85 per cent of equity deals and 44 per cent of debt funding was used to increase investment in research and development and innovation, leading to new products to be developed, including medicines and medical therapies.
  • 58 per cent of investee businesses receiving debt and 30 per cent securing equity identified as exporting products or services. This is in contrast to national export estimates varying from 9 per cent to 20 per cent for all SMEs

The full report can be downloaded here