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British Business Hits Targets, Empowers SMEs But With Losses in 2022/23

The British Business Bank has unveiled its annual report for the financial year 2022/23, outlining significant milestones in its mission to support smaller businesses across the UK.

The bank exceeded expectations by providing £12.4billion in support to over 90,000 businesses, surpassing its target and demonstrating its commitment to addressing SME financing needs.

The bank’s dedication to fostering diversity in the financial sector is evident as it successfully deployed 99 per cent of its finance outside of the ‘Big Five’ banks, offering SMEs a broader range of funding options.

Addressing regional disparities, the bank deployed £1.27billion outside of London, aiming to ensure equitable access to financial support across the UK. Its existing regional funds – the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Funds – invested an additional £152million.

This comes ahead of the launch of the bank’s new Nations and Regions Investment Funds, which will deliver a £1.6billion commitment of new funding across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the South West, North of England and Midlands.

“After the pandemic, we have re-focused on the UK’s future economic growth as we deliver against our new strategic objectives from 2023/24,” said Louis Taylor, CEO, British Business Bank. “These are: driving sustainable growth, backing innovation, unlocking potential, and building the modern, green economy.

“We will continue to put our customers at the heart of everything we do, investing through the cycle to support the UK’s smaller businesses as they start up and grow.”

Other findings

The bank’s 2022/23 annual report and accounts also revealed an ‘expected drop in valuations’ across its portfolio, producing a £135.3million loss this year.

Taylor commented: “Given the longer-term 10-year horizon for most of our investments we would expect an overall upward trajectory despite these in-year fluctuations.”

The Bank achieved an adjusted return of 6.5% per cent, significantly exceeding its target of 1.3 per cent. The report also reveals that:

  • Its ENABLE Guarantee and ENABLE Build programmes committed a record total of £868million during the 2022/23.
  • The Regional Angels programme made £55million of new commitments, helping to reduce regional imbalances in access to seed and early-stage equity finance for smaller businesses across the UK.
  • A Start Up Loans programme passed the 100,000 loans milestone

Commenting on the report, Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the British Business Bank, also said: “There can be no doubt that the prevailing market conditions during 2022/23 have been both demanding and extraordinary. Our role, as the UK’s economic development bank, is especially important at the more difficult points of the economic cycle and this is why we have continued to invest during the last year.

“In doing so, we have built further our support for our ultimate end-customers – the UK’s smaller businesses.”

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