From left, Graeme Lewis and Stephen Deakin of BCRS, British Business Bank’s Beth Bannister and Ken Cooper, Caroline Dunn, Niki Haggerty-James and James Pittendreigh, all BCRS.
BCRS Business Loans has appointed three new business development managers to support small businesses in Wales after being appointed as a fund manager for the Smaller Loans Fund, part of the new £130 million Investment Fund for Wales launched by British Business Bank.
Having worked with SMEs unable to access finance from traditional sources in the West Midlands since 2002, BCRS Business Loans has expanded into Wales to help smaller businesses there prosper and thrive under the fund, which was officially launched in Cardiff in November.
The three new business development managers will support small businesses in Wales that are looking for finance to help them achieve growth, safeguard jobs and create new employment opportunities.
James Pittendreigh has joined BCRS as a business development manager. James has worked in the financial industry for 10 years, spending time with the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, most recently working closely with small and medium-sized enterprises in the business community of North Wales.
Niki Haggerty-James is on board as BCRS business development manager having spent 32 years working in finance at Barclays, which included a role as an ecosystem manager supporting SMEs across Wales. Her latest role prior to BCRS was at a high-growth start-up company, where she gained firsthand experience of the Welsh start-up environment.
Business development manager Graeme Lewis joined BCRS with an extensive background in financial services, which includes six years as a senior bank manager at the NatWest Group. Graeme has also worked in the motor industry and most recently managed a GP surgery in Cardiff.
BCRS Business Loans CEO Stephen Deakin said: “We are delighted to welcome James, Niki and Graeme to our business development team on the back of BCRS becoming one of the fund managers for the British Business Bank’s new £130 million Investment Fund for Wales.
“Each of them brings a wealth of experience to BCRS and is passionate about helping SMEs to achieve their goals.
“They will play a key role in helping small businesses gain access to finance so that they can grow and thrive, which in turn will contribute to the success of the wider Welsh economy. At BCRS we believe that no viable business should go unsupported.”
The Investment Fund for Wales will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting new and growing businesses through investment strategies that best meet the needs of these firms.
Operating across the whole of Wales, the fund includes a range of finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investments up to £5 million to help small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up or stay ahead.
Three fund managers have been appointed, with BCRS Business Loans managing the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000 to £100,000). FW Capital will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2 million) and Foresight will manage equity deals (up to £5 million).
Since BCRS was founded as a community development financial institution in 2002, it has provided loans worth more than £85 million to businesses across the West Midlands. A social impact report for the last financial year showed BCRS lent £6.5m to 72 businesses, safeguarding 999 jobs and creating 473 roles, adding £33.7m in value to the economy of the West Midlands and surrounding region.
The Investment Fund for Wales is the first solely UK government-backed investment fund for smaller businesses in Wales, helping to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance by providing options to firms that might otherwise not receive investment. Funding is designed to help businesses with activities including expansion, product or service innovation, new processes, skills development, and capital equipment.
Following the launch of the fund, the British Business Bank will hold a series of information roadshows aimed at people working in the small business finance ecosystem including enterprise agencies, advisers, accountants and more. The first will be held in Llandudno on 20 February with additional sessions held in Aberystwyth on 21 February, then Swansea and Newport on 22 February.