One of the UK’s banking giants, Santander has set the wheels in motion for a new programme designed to support the best and fastest growing commercial property businesses in the UK, helping them fulfil their growth and ambitions, drive economic growth and create local jobs.
Santander is making up to £200 million of growth capital available through its Breakthrough programme, to fast growth commercial property firms looking to invest in and grow their businesses. The loans are accessible to commercial property businesses with a yearly turnover of up to £10 million, which have proven history of high year on year growth in profit, turnover or employment.
The loans have been created to help address a familiar gap in the funding market for commercial property companies of this size. The loans can be used to fund growth initiatives such as introducing new products, recruiting new staff or expanding overseas.
Breakthrough’s growth capital loans can be used as substitute to equity investment, where, as with many of the commercial property businesses Santander has worked with, business owners don’t want to hand over a large proportion of the business that they have built up in exchange for capital.
The £200 million of growth capital includes a £50 million aid from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to help leverage loans at the smaller end of the investment range and in more areas, which are challenged economically (excluding London and the South East).
According to Experian data, fast growth businesses have a major impact on the UK economy. There are 9,632 fast growth commercial property businesses with gross revenue of up to £10 million in the UK. Between them, they have a combined net worth of around £9.2 billion and employ 404,849 people.
The Breakthrough programme is also offering commercial property businesses access to a variety of support and development programmes, typically not available to companies of this size. These programmes include fully funded internships, fully funded overseas trade missions, networking events, training courses and opportunities to learn first-hand from experienced fast growth companies such as LoveFilm and Google.
Executive Director of Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking, Steve Pateman, commented: “Small and medium sized businesses are vital to the UK economy and it is crucial that they are able to access the finance they need to invest in their businesses, to grow and create jobs and stimulate demand throughout the supply chain.”
“We know that there is a recognised funding gap for companies with a turnover of under £10 million looking for growth capital, and we want to help fill that gap. This is part of the role that banks can play in supporting a private-sector led recovery and stimulating local economic growth.”
He further added: “It is not just money that drives business growth-but the people behind the business. We know from our own experience how challenging growing a business can be and that is why we are providing a comprehensive package of support to assist British business owners in the steps they are taking to invest in and grow their business.”
The programme will be delivered regionally with the benefactor of regional boards. These regional boards will harness local knowledge to ensure the support offered to commercial properties is adapted to meet the needs of companies within the region.
The programme is in addition to Santander UK’s pledge to loan £4bn to SMEs in 2011 as part of the Project Merlin arrangement with the government.