A venture finance company which has provided aid to Fylde firms has announced a record year.
Enterprise Ventures, which provides finance for SMEs, said it completed 220 deals with a combined value of £30m in 2014.
It brings the total invested by the company in the past four years to more than £100m.
During that time it completed around 780 transactions – equivalent to four deals every working week.
The figures highlight Enterprise Ventures’ role in supporting small firms in the county at a time when bank lending has continued to fall and many have witnessed unprecedented difficulties in accessing finance for growth.
Enterprise Ventures, which has offices in Preston, Liverpool, Manchester, and Dodworth in Yorkshire, manages 18 specially-targeted SME funds raised from the public and private sectors providing venture capital, growth capital and loans. They include The North West Fund for Venture Capital, The North West Fund for Mezzanine and Lancashire’s Rosebud Finance.
According to an independent report compiled during the year, the majority of Enterprise Ventures’ loans and investments have gone into the most deprived regions in the UK. The report by Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, shows that Enterprise Ventures is helping to create a more balanced economy by investing in the regions, concentrating on deprived areas and focusing on priority sectors, such as manufacturing and export.
Key deals during 2014 included a £2.5m investment in Winning Pitch, the coaching and business support specialist which operates in the Fylde area.
Enterprise Ventures also saw the flotation of three of its portfolio companies.
Chief Executive Jonathan Diggines said: “The landscape for small business finance has changed for good. Although the economy is recovering, there is no sign of the banks returning to the market.
“Enterprise Ventures has been playing a key role in supporting small business growth and generating jobs and prosperity in deprived areas.
“The recent Big Issue Invest report has outlined the important part that alternative finance providers can play in rebalancing the UK economy away from London.
“With devolution now on the agenda, the investment community will be fundamental to realise the vision of a Northern powerhouse.”