Growth Loan Fund has now lent £40m to local SMEs

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI; Paul Millar, chief executive of WhiteRock Capital Partners and David Murphy, CEO of NILGOSC
Gareth McKeown

A FUND set up to support the growth of the north's SMEs has now lent more than £40 million to local businesses.

Since 2012 the Growth Loan Fund has supported 120 businesses with loans ranging from £100,000 to £1.25 million.

The £50 million fund, which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance is financed by Invest NI, private investors and Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) and managed by WhiteRock Capital Partners.

Speaking at the announcement of the £40 million milestone Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the fund ensured companies were not held back because they cannot access finance.

“I am delighted that the fund has distributed more than £40 million to 120 businesses in the past five years. This demonstrates that there is a real need for this fund with companies such as Ardboe Coldstore, ConveyorTek and more recently Newry based Healthy Buildings using the support to grow their businesses and employ more people. The fund is also making a substantial difference here by boosting business confidence and helping Northern Ireland businesses to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Millar, chief executive of WhiteRock Capital Partners, said the appetite among local businesses for the funding was still there.

“Over the course of the fund we have invested in many well-known success stories including Williams Industrial Services, McAvoy Group, Vita Liberata, RMS Group and W&G Baird.

“In the last 12 months we invested £13m into 36 local SME businesses and applications for funding show no sign of slowing down for the rest of 2017.”

Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors.

Loans are provided on a fully commercial basis, with monthly loan repayments required over typically a five-year term.

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