Help to Grow – Growth Loans

Help to Grow logo

The ‘Help to Grow’ growth loans programme addresses the financing needs of smaller businesses which are struggling to raise sufficient senior debt to fund their growth opportunities.

The British Business Bank launched the initial phase of Help to Grow on 22 May 2016, announcing that the first £30m of Help to Grow-supported lending would be delivered to businesses through Lloyds Banking Group. We announced that a second lender, the challenger bank OakNorth, had joined the programme in January 2017. The first investment fund under the programme, with Liverpool-based lender MSIF, was announced in September 2017.

Research suggests that there is a gap in respect of investment requirements of between £0.5m and £5m, and particularly for requirements of up to £2m.

We are keen to receive proposals from potential partners wishing to provide Help to Grow growth loans – debt-based finance which goes beyond senior debt in terms of risk appetite.

This type of finance is often referred to as unitranche, mezzanine, stretch debt, venture debt or long-term patient capital. Growth loans are typically unsecured, with a proportion of the financial return deferred and – in some cases – linked to the future success of the business.

Two specific avenues are open to potential partners:

Shared First Loss Guarantee

  • where lenders have sufficient capital and the required skills but consider growth loans in the £0.5m-£2m range unattractive compared with other opportunities for deploying their capital

Capital for co-investment alongside a fund’s other investors

  • where lenders have the skills and ambition to lend in the £0.5m-£2m range but have not yet built a sufficiently large fund to be able to commence lending.
If you are interested in partnering with British Business Bank to provide Growth Loans, please review and respond to our Request for Proposals by 5pm on 31 March 2018*.

Help to Grow growth loans presentation
The presentation below details the different ways in which the programme can support potential providers of Growth Loans, the application process and assessment criteria. The presentation will be of interest to organisations considering responding to the Request for Proposals.

Download our Growth Loans Presentation

Help to Grow growth loans Q&A
As part of our commitment to keeping interested parties informed we will from time to time publish any questions which have been raised about the programme and our answers to them.

Download our latest Q&A

*The closing date for submission of expressions of interest in response to the “Help to Grow” Growth Loans Pilot Request for Proposals (the “RFP”) published on 18 March 2015 has been extended until 5pm on 31 March 2018 in accordance with paragraph 2.1 of the RFP and for the purposes of the first bullet point of paragraph 2.2 of the RFP.

Help to grow performance

  • The British Business Bank launched the initial phase of Help to Grow on 22 May 2016, announcing that the first £30m of Help to Grow-supported lending would be delivered to businesses through Lloyds Banking Group.
  • In January 2017 we announced that a second lender, the challenger bank OakNorth, had joined the programme, with a £30m facility. On 14 March, OakNorth completed a £600,000 loan to Notes, the speciality coffee, food and wine company with six sites across central London.
  • The first Help to Grow fund closed (August 17). This £15m fund is a partnership between the British Business Bank and MSIF, a Liverpool based loan and equity provider. It supports established (typically between 3-7 years old), high growth SMEs seeking finance for growth in the Liverpool City Region and across the wider North West. Loans range between £250,000 and £1,000,000.

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.