Growth fund poised to increase Yorkshire presence

Richard Taylor, investor at BGF.  Picture by Simon Hulme
Richard Taylor, investor at BGF. Picture by Simon Hulme
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A fund which provides growth capital to small and medium-sized businesses is poised to increase its Yorkshire portfolio as it celebrates its fifth anniversary.

BGF (Business Growth Fund) has invested £58m across seven companies in Yorkshire and is expected to add more firms to its portfolio over the summer.

Its presence in Yorkshire has significantly increased over the last two years. The fund opened an office in Leeds two years ago and now has a team of five investors who meet over 200 Yorkshire companies a year.

Richard Taylor, who heads up the Leeds office, said: “The quantum of businesses we are seeing has increased significantly.”

Referrals from the adviser community and bank shareholders have boosted the fund’s profile. But taking on more staff has been the biggest game-changer as it means the organisation can now market itself directly to companies.

“That has become more effective as our brand awareness has increased,” said Mr Taylor. “In addition, the management teams across the businesses we already invested in have become our biggest advocates of what BGF can do.”

BGF helps established companies who are financially constrained but have ambitious management teams. The funding helps with capital expenditure plans, acquisitions, professionalising boards of directors and building teams.

Yorkshire companies within its portfolio include specialist printer York Mailing and Leeds-based budget gym chain Xercise4less.

Nationally, the fund invested over £100m in the first three months of 2016 and is on course to pass £1bn in committed investments this year.

Mr Taylor will be writing a series of sponsored columns in The Yorkshire Post every other Thursday, starting next week.