Businesses wanting to get ahead of the game don’t take the stairs but use the Enterprise M3’s Funding Escalator. Operational since July 2014, the Funding Escalator provides a loan and equity fund for earlier stage SMEs with high growth potential. Businesses supported by the fund are the future growth machines of the local economy driving business investment, innovative practices and high value job creation.
So far 33 businesses have been boosted by The Funding Escalator programme, having a significant impact on our economy and will create and safeguard nearly 500 jobs. These include businesses from a range of sectors including artificial intelligence and machine vision, dry ice manufacture, cybersecurity, assisted hearing devices, biofuels and many more, all aligned to our priority sectors.
We evaluated the Fund, using an independent evaluator, and found that the Fund saw high levels of additional funding secured and high value jobs in excess of the levels predicted. Whilst the Funding Escalator is at a relatively early stage to assess outcomes (usually a minimum of 3 years is required to see the outcome of investment), forecast outcomes at this stage are significantly higher than had been initially forecast. There has also been significant leverage through the Funding Escalator, with the Fund acting as a catalyst for other funding, leveraging a further £4.63m investment to support these businesses.
We will be launching a new £10m funded product at the AGM in June 2018.