HSBC UK has today launched a £1bn fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the South West, part of a broader £15bn lending fund to support SMEs across the UK, as part of its commitment to help British businesses innovate and grow as the country looks to rebound from the Covid-19 health crisis.
The Fund, which includes over £10bn of specific regionally focused allocations, will seek to ensure that companies throughout the country can benefit, supporting regional economies, employment opportunities and driving growth.
This year’s Fund also includes increased ring-fenced pots for businesses trading internationally (£2bn), the agriculture sector (increased to £1.2bn) and new ring-fenced pots for businesses in the tech sector (£500m) and franchise businesses (£500m).
Despite the challenging economic environment, 62% of UK businesses intend to increase investment in their business in the next year, according to research from HSBC, with the focus on four fundamental areas of their business in 2021 – employee well-being, customer experience, cash flow/capital management and security.
Almost three quarters (71%) of UK businesses expect to have returned to pre pandemic levels of profitability by the end of 2022 and a fifth by the end of this year, plus nearly half of British companies (49%) are projecting sales growth.
Jagdeep Kaur Rai, HSBC UK’s Regional Business Banking Director for the South West, said: “We are committed to supporting businesses across the South West and we know they are adapting at pace and looking at what comes next. We recently supported Cornish diving equipment company, Fourth Element, which has been able to future proof the business with the backing of the SME Fund.
“This fund is all about helping businesses to take new opportunities and grow and we want to reassure them that we’re here to support them achieve their goals.”