Whiterock Finance has reached the milestone of lending £20 million to businesses in Northern Ireland across its two funds – Growth Loan Fund II and the Growth Finance Fund.
The Funds have supported 28 businesses in the last two years, helping them to create more than 700 jobs across Northern Ireland and have enabled those businesses to raise a further £30m from banks and other lenders. Businesses backed by the funds have received an average loan of £540,000.
Finance for the £30m Growth Loan Fund II – which provides loans to SMEs in the range of £100,000 to £1.5m – is provided by Invest Northern Ireland and part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
Finance for the £30m Growth Finance Fund – which can provide loans to SMEs up to £2m – has been provided by Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), the British Business Bank and Invest Northern Ireland.
Companies who have received funding come from a range of sectors including manufacturing, telecoms, industrial services, leisure, and tourism and were spread across all regions of Northern Ireland.
Paul Millar, CEO of Whiterock Finance said: “Reaching this milestone is an important marker during this current pandemic. It is essential we continue to support growth where there is potential for it. On the back of our first fund, Growth Loan Fund I, which provided £55m to over 100 companies we are delighted with the progress to date of our successor funds launched just two years ago.
“We have also seen strong demand from companies keen to take advantage of the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and expect that interest to continue into the new year while the scheme is still open.”
William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance at Invest NI said: “This is a significant milestone for both of the loan funds to reach, especially in these uncertain times, and it is great to see the positive impact these funds have already had on local businesses. We look forward to continuing our support for Northern Ireland export-focused SMEs through these funds, helping them to grow in global markets, encouraging entrepreneurship and driving private sector growth that will help rebuild our economy.”
Sarah Newbould, Senior Investment Manager, Regional Funding Team, British Business Bank said:“The British Business Bank invested specifically in the Growth Finance Fund so we could further support Northern Ireland’s smaller businesses. Supporting growth ambitions is so important to helping smaller businesses explore new opportunities and realise their potential. It is therefore really pleasing to see this strong progress made by the fund and the range of businesses supported.”