The British Business Bank’s mission is to help drive economic growth by making finance markets work better for smaller businesses – wherever they are in the UK and whatever their stage of development.
As the UK government’s economic development bank, we find ourselves in a strong position at the end of the 2017/18 financial year, having enhanced our infrastructure, our organisation and our delivery to smaller businesses. Smaller businesses make up 99 percent of the UK’s business population by number, and it is vitally important to our economy to enable these businesses to prosper and grow.
A growing remit
In a productive and successful year, two major developments illustrate the growing remit of the British Business Bank group most strongly. On the 1st of April, we combined with The Start-Up Loans Company (SULCo), building our group capability to deliver for businesses at the earliest stage. For businesses further along their development, the government allocated us an extra £2.5bn at Autumn Budget 2017 to tackle the long-standing dearth of crucially-important long-term patient capital which enables high growth potential, ambitious companies to grow into large, world-leading businesses.
Because of our growing reputation, both as a trusted centre of expertise on smaller business finance and as an organisation that delivers, we are being asked by the government to deliver more and take on new responsibilities.
This is reflected in two additional objectives against which we have been asked to deliver from the start of the 2018/19 financial year: identifying and helping to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK; and being the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK, providing advice and support to government.
Since April last year, as our role has expanded, our numbers have increased rapidly from 167 to 248, necessitating a move to a new head office in Sheffield’s Steel City House as well as changes to our systems and processes. Colleagues across the Bank have shown considerable commitment, dedication and ability in continuing to deliver against our corporate objectives during a year of such significant growth and change.
Underpinning our corporate culture is a strong set of shared values, created and owned by colleagues across the Bank and supported by the Board. I am proud to chair an organisation that considers enabling, talent, openness, connecting, innovation and commercial responsibility as the foundations on which to build its success. I am also pleased we are championing diversity as a signatory to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
There have been several Board changes this year. I would like to thank Colin Glass and Teresa Graham, who stepped down as Non-executive Directors (NEDs) in June 2017, for their valuable contributions since joining the Board in June 2014. We welcomed Piers Linney and Amanda Rendle as new NEDs in December 2017, and look forward to drawing on their considerable knowledge and experience in the future.
On my appointment last year, I said that I believe passionately that access to finance is a vital part of helping smaller businesses to invest, grow and achieve their ambitions.
We have already helped many such businesses along their journey to success. I look forward to working with the dedicated team at the Bank to help even more of those businesses to maintain and grow their enormous contribution to the UK economy.