Sharp rise in Merseyside Special Investment Fund start-up loans

The Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) has increased the value of loans made in Q2 and Q3, backing more start-ups than ever before.

MSIF invested approximately £5 million so far in 2014, compared with £3.4 million invested over the same period in 2013.

This cash was used to fund 91 businesses, of which 71 were classed as “start-ups”, an increase on the 86 businesses and 55 start-ups from the same period last year.

MSIF offers access to a number of different load pots that offer up to £50,000, including the Government-backed Start-up Load Fund which can commit up to £10,000 at 6% interest. MSIF also handles larger equity and loan deals, last year accounting for up to £5 million of the £9 million loaned out by the fund.

Lisa Ashby-Dowling, MSIF investment manager for start-ups, said:

“A lot of banks are referring to us because they’re not able to provide the finance, or they can only do a small part of it – they might have a client who can get £5,000 but needs £12,000. We’re definitely getting a lot more inquiries.”

MSIF has backed companies in a wide variety of differing sectors: it was an early supporter of wind turbine maintenance firm Windtex, committing a further loan of £50,000 this year. Meanwhile, greetings card company Chocolate Envelop has secured a start-up loan, along with the teaching app specialist Little Lamb Phonics.


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Words: Peter Cribley

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