Companies in Wolverhampton South West can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries.
The government has made an initial £250 million available for investment through the Future Fund scheme and will consider increasing this if needed.
Private investors – potentially including venture capital funds, angel investors and those backed by regional funds - will at least match the government investment in these companies.
Commenting Stuart Anderson MP said: “The Future Fund is great news for high growth and innovative businesses here in Wolverhampton South West, helping them build the bridge from today’s severe challenges to the period of recovery, enabling them to survive then thrive.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Our start-ups and innovative firms are one of our great economic strengths, and they will help spur our recovery from the pandemic.
“The Future Fund will support firms across the UK to get through the pandemic by stimulating investment, so that they can continue to break new ground in technology and innovation.”
Match fund investors will be encouraged to sign the Treasury’s Investing in Women Code, which commits firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. The Future Fund is a signatory of this.
The government will also amend the rules of the Enterprise Investment Scheme, which provides tax relief to investors in high growth firms, to protect Future Fund investors from losing relief on their previous investments made prior to any investment through the Future Fund.
The Fund will be open until September and is delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.
In addition to the Future Fund, Ministers have allocated £40 million through the Fast Start Competition to drive forward new technological advances, and to support innovative start-ups, including a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform. This will give companies a vital boost, fast-tracking the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis.
Oliver Dowden Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The UK is a global tech and creative hub. We are an unashamedly pro-tech government and are supporting high-growth businesses through this challenging period, so they can prosper and succeed.
“The tech sector has played a crucial role throughout the pandemic and these innovative firms will be key to driving growth through our recovery.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Britain is an innovation powerhouse and helping our cutting-edge companies of the future get the cash they need during this difficult time is a vital part of getting the UK economy up and running again.”