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Finance for Business in the UK and Europe has always been a complex minefield. The Government’s aim is for more UK entrepreneurs and businesses to be able to access the finance they need to enable greater levels of enterprise, whether expressed through start-up or growth.


This finance page for North West SME’s highlights the different funding schemes and the individual service providers for finance in the UK and throughout Europe. If you have any questions regarding application for any of the following finance schemes please do not hesitate to contact us on 0844 259 8571.


UK finance for Business

The North West Fund

The North West Fund is a £155m evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England. The Fund will address an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets. Find out more


Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG)

How does it work? EFG is a loan guarantee scheme designed to facilitate additional lending to viable SMEs lacking the security or proven track record for a commercial loan. It is not a replacement for commercial products and will account for 1%-2% of total lending to SMEs. The Government provides the lender with a 75% guarantee for each individual loan, subject to a cap on total claims arising from a Lender’s portfolio. Find out more


Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee (ExEFG)

How does it work? ExEFG facilitates the provision of short term export finance to viable SMEs which lack the security necessary to obtain such facilities commercially. As required by EU State Aid rules, the scheme operates on a commercial basis. The Government provides the lender with a 60% guarantee for each individual facility, subject to a cap on total claims rising from a lenders annual portfolio. The borrower pays an upfront 3% per annum (pro rata) premium regardless of facility utilisation or drawdown, to meet the costs of the scheme. Find out more


Business Angel Co-Investment Fund

What is it? The £50m Business Angel Co-Investment Fund aims to support angel investments into high growth potential early stage SMEs, particularly in areas worst affected by public spending cuts.

How does it work? The fund has been created with a grant from the Regional Growth Fund and is able to make initial equity investments of between £100K and £1M in to SMEs alongside syndicates of business angels (subject to geographical restrictions and upper limit of 49% of any investment round). Investment decisions will be made by the independent Investment Committee of the fund based on detailed proposals put forward by business angel syndicates. Find out more


UK Export Finance Scheme

UK Export Finance is the UK’s official Export Credit Agency, providing services such as:

•Insuring UK exporters against non payment by their overseas        buyers

•Helping overseas buyers to purchase goods and services from UK exporters by guaranteeing bank loans to finance those purchases

•Insuring UK investors in overseas markets against political risks


For further information please visit UK Export Finance




UK Finance for Business

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

How does it work? SEIS will provide income tax relief of 50% for individuals who invest in shares in qualifying companies, with an annual investment limit for individuals of £100,000 and cumulative investment limit for companies of £150,000.

In addition, the Government will offer a capital gains tax holiday for investments made into the new scheme. This will provide for a capital gains tax exemption on gains realised on disposal of an asset in 2012-13 and invested through SEIS in the same year.

Find out more


Access to Finance Team

The Access to Finance Team based within Manchester Solutions Match North West SME’s with finance. The ensure North West SME’s are investment ready and support the process of obtaining accessible funding. The Access to Finance team will perform diagnostics on a business plan and make financial forecasts investment ready. There are several types of finance available via Access to Finance. SME’s should be referred through to be dealt with from stage one. Find out more


European Funding for Business and Innovation

Horizon 2020 - Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Find out more about Horizon 2020 and Latest H2020 calls


Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME)

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn. COSME will support SMEs in the following area. Find out more


Latest calls for COSME proposals

Latest calls for COSME tenders


For any information on UK or European finance contact your North West Enterprise Europe Network team on 0844 259 8571 or email