The Enterprise Capital Funds programme

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Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) combine private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses. Our ECF programme aims to increase the supply of equity to UK growth companies and to lower the barriers to entry for fund managers looking to operate in the VC market.

The British Business Bank invests alongside venture capital funds on terms that improve the outcome for private investors when those funds are successful.

We do this to encourage venture capital funds to operate in a part of the market where smaller businesses are not able to access the growth capital they need.

Enterprise Capital Funds are managed by experienced fund managers from a variety of backgrounds – including teams from the venture capital industry as well as serial entrepreneurs with a history of success in building early stage UK companies.

We operate a rolling investment programme for commitments to new Enterprise Capital Funds.


Our ECF guidance and Draft Partnership Agreement help applicants to understand more about the British Business Bank investment process and whether or not their plans fit with the programme.

Download the ECF Guidance

Download the Draft Partnership Agreement

If you are a business looking for equity investment, please note that this programme is about helping to establish funds.

If you are looking for equity funding, you will need to approach the funds’ managers directly through our scale up pages accessible through the homepage.

We held seminars for prospective fund managers in February 2016. You can download the presentation below.

Download the ECF Seminar Presentation, February 2016

Read more about Sussex Place Ventures’ experience of working with us a partner in our Enterprise Capital Funds programme.

ECF Performance

  • Since inception, around £1.05bn (including third party) has been committed through the Enterprise Capital Funds programme (at end October 2017).
  • Over £573m of funding has been drawn (as at end Sept 2017).
  • The ECF programme is a significant part of the UK venture capital industry, with 25 funds facilitating finance to around 380 SMEs (as at end October 2017).

Latest ECF News

At Budget 2017 on 22 November, the Government committed to maintaining the British Business Bank’s ECF programme with up to £1bn of commitments over the next 10 years.

In early December we announced a commitment of £36m to Episode1’s second fund of £60m, which will invest in UK seed companies. In November we announced we had committed £50m to Longwall Venture Partners LLP’s new £75m venture capital fund, Longwall Ventures 3 ECF LP. This fund, Longwall’s third, will enable it to continue its strategy of investing in the UK’s best and most innovative science, engineering and healthcare start-up and early stage companies.

In May, we announced that we would be investing in Pentech III, under our Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme. This £88m fund will invest in early stage software companies in the UK.

The business finance guide - English version - guide to finance options    The business finance guide - Welsh version - guide to finance options
The English and Welsh language editions of the Business Finance Guide are downloadable from the Guide’s dedicated website. This resource also contains videos and additional content about finance options, including equity finance.

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