British Business Investments recently published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21. They show a strong set of results and a record year in terms of a number of new commitments and diversification of our portfolio.
Key highlights include:
- A record number of 18 commitments to new and existing delivery partners, totalling £473m
- In our seventh year of operation, cumulative commitments are up 19% year-on-year to over £3bn
- Support for almost 30,000 smaller businesses across the UK, 85% of which are outside of London
- A strong returns performance, delivering pre-tax profit of £107.4m
I am mindful that since last year, everyone – from all walks of life – has had to contend with extremely challenging conditions during the pandemic. So, I am particularly proud that the British Business Investments team managed to play its part during this time. As the pandemic tested the UK economy, we continued to make commitments to help ensure the UK’s smaller businesses could continue to access finance. It also means that for the first time, BBI has now made commitments in every nation and region of the UK, and is supporting almost 30,000 small businesses, 85% of which are located outside London.
When I stepped into the Managing Director role in November 2020, we had already been working from home for several months with no adverse effect on our productivity. In fact, as a team with colleagues based in London and Sheffield, virtual working has probably increased our connectivity as a team and this in turn has enabled us to provide an uninterrupted service to our delivery partners and to keep driving our investment activity.
It is our investment activity that allows British Business Investments to meet its core aim of seeking to increase the diversity and flow of finance available to smaller companies in the UK. Like the British Business Bank, our parent company, we do not invest in businesses directly. Instead, we make financial commitments to a variety of financial providers we call delivery partners, who then provide financing to smaller businesses.
Our delivery partners vary widely, and include challenger banks, asset finance providers, FinTech lenders, debt funds, angel networks and Venture Capital fund of funds managers. Each of our programmes supplies either debt finance or equity capital to the market, and by working with our delivery partners, we increase the volume and the diversity of finance available for smaller businesses throughout the UK.
The last financial year was an exceptional and challenging one in so many ways, but by remaining alert to the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s smaller businesses and our delivery partners, we were able to adapt our response throughout the year while producing strong results.
Adam Kelly is Managing Director of British Business Investments.
Adam was previously Director of British Business Investments’ Structured Capital Solutions portfolio. As part of that role, Adam has led investments in challenger banks and has been key in its support for that sector.
Adam built his career in corporate finance with investment banks, Dresdner Kleinwort and JP Morgan Cazenove before becoming involved in the delivery of publicly funded finance products.