The £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) is open for business and looking to support new and growing businesses across the region.
The fund provides commercial loan and equity finance between £25,000 and £2 million and is a collaboration between the Government-owned British Business Bank and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The aim of the British Business Bank is to make the finance markets work better for smaller businesses in the UK and diversify what’s available.
Officially launched over the summer, CIOSIF brings together funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the LEP and the UK Government and is aimed at small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at all stages in their development.
Investments are commercially focused – they are not grants. Here’s what’s available:
Debt finance, from £25,000 to £1 million: this is designed for smaller businesses needing to borrow for a wide range of purposes including filling gaps in growth capital, funding expansion projects, employing new staff and investing in new machinery and equipment. It is particularly suited for fledgling businesses who may lack a proven trading record or not yet have any major assets.
Equity finance, from £50,000 to £2 million: In simple terms, equity financing is the raising of capital through the sale of shares in a business. An equity investment could be right if you have ambitious growth plans that need long term funding. Rather than requiring regular interest payments the fund will share in the success of your company. This can be particularly useful for companies with high growth potential or those innovating with new products or services.
CIOSIF’s funds can provide co-investment with other funders (including high street lenders) to make up an investment package, or can invest alone where no other funding is available.
CIOSIF has an appointed fund manager, The FSE Group, to evaluate applications and allocate funds. Enquiries and applications are made directly to them via the fund website at www.ciosif.co.uk
On the website you will also find links to the British Business Bank’s Business Finance Guide, which is an invaluable tool whether you are a start-up entrepreneur or managing an established growing company.
Ken Cooper is Managing Director, Venture Capital Solutions, at the British Business Bank.