BRITISH Business Investments, the commercial arm of the British Business Bank (BBB), has announced pre-tax profits of £55.1m in its latest annual results, a 37 per cent increase on the previous year.
The British Business Bank (BBB) was set up by former Business Secretary Vince Cable with the aim of boosting funding to small businesses, and invests through a variety of lenders including peer-to-peer platforms, challenger banks and growth capital funds.
British Business Investments said on Thursday that it is supporting 17,719 businesses across the UK as of 31 March 2017, an increase of 45 per cent year on year.
£868m has been invested, alongside £6.3bn of private sector capital, across 38 business finance providers, it said.
The last financial year also saw an expansion of the the VC Catalyst Programme, which invests in venture capital funds, through a £400m allocation announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.
A host of big P2P players have facilitated investment from the BBB, including RateSetter, Funding Circle and MarketInvoice. Earlier this year, the BBB announced that it had facilitated 94 per cent of its funds through lenders outside of the ‘big four’ banks over the previous 12 months, up from 90 per cent and 79 per cent in the preceding years.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive officer of British Business Investments, said the lender had been able to offer further support for “innovative and alternative finance” firms, as well as increase capital to small- and medium-sized businesses.
“Our work helps to ensure that this broad group of businesses, who are key drivers of the country’s productivity and employment creation, can find the appropriate funding they need to meet their capital investment and growth plans,” she said.
Keith Morgan, chairman of British Business Investments, added: “Across our growing portfolio, we are increasing the diversity of the finance market and helping to deliver a range of funding to smaller and medium-sized businesses, including through our support of market leaders in direct lending, asset finance and fintech companies and platforms.”
Nonetheless, some believe the BBB could do more; the Federation of Small Businesses has previously called for the BBB to be given more resources, pointing to poor awareness among small firms of their alternative finance options.