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A different way forward
BGF is the UK & Ireland’s most active and dynamic investor of equity capital in growth economy companies, backing entrepreneurs and innovators.
BGF is an established, independent investment company, with a balance sheet of more than £2.5bn supporting earlier stage and established private businesses, and smaller listed companies.
With 16 offices in the UK and Ireland, we invest across all regions and industry sectors, backing founders and management teams who are powering the future of the economy.
BGF was set up in 2011 to address the chronic and longstanding shortage of funding available to Britain and Ireland’s small and mid-sized firms, and to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs largely overlooked or insufficiently supported by the investment community. The aim was to create a large and broadly-based equity investment firm that could support these companies on a local basis as a minority and long-term partner, helping to drive growth and returns, building scale in a sustainable way.
From a blank sheet of paper, BGF envisaged a new culture and model of investing with a clear sense of purpose and mission. Our model is underpinned by a unique combination of long-term capital, minority investments, breadth of coverage and a streamlined investment process to create a real impact.
Our activity in the UK since 2011
Our activity in the UK since 2011
Demonstrating a similar ambition to the entrepreneurs we back, we have created a unique and highly successful investment platform. This platform delivers on average more than one investment a week of between £1m – £15m, in addition to significant follow-on funding for investee companies.
Our investment run rate has led to a step change in the supply of growth capital, having now backed more businesses that are seeking investment for growth and expansion than any other equity investor in the world.
We believe that the most effective and sustainable way to generate investment activity is to build relationships with entrepreneurs on a local level. BGF’s regional investment teams operate from 16 offices – this physical infrastructure provides us with full national coverage and, importantly, proximity to local business communities.
In the UK, BGF is backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Standard Chartered. BGF in Ireland is backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.
Awareness of BGF is gaining momentum internationally. With our support, Canada launched its own BGF in 2018 and Australia did the same in 2020. Both backed by a combination of banks and major investors.
The Growth Economy Impact
BGF investment brings fundamental secondary benefits to the wider economy such as increasing employment, which in turn grows the tax base. The BGF portfolio of companies collectively employ more than 60,000 people.
Good governance is a vital part of driving performance and is embedded in our approach to the appointment of independent non-executives, standardisation of risk registers and improved financial reporting. BGF has always viewed the alignment of interests and benefitting multiple stakeholders – such as employees and society more generally – as critically important to our success.
Our growth economy report examines the history of the funding landscape for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, gauges the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis, and lays out a detailed plan for an investment-led recovery.
Our capital deployment is regionally dispersed with over two-thirds of companies based outside Greater London.
Our approach to Environmental, Social and Governance investing
BGF works, not only to champion sustainable practices in our portfolio, and to back businesses that are looking to make a real impact in their markets and sectors across the ESG spectrum.
BGF exists to help good businesses grow, and that includes supporting and championing enhancements in the ESG credentials of portfolio companies. We do this by providing access to expertise and sharing knowledge and best practices, rather than through control. It is embodied in a spirit of partnership.
From diversity and board effectiveness to energy transition, ESG criteria are essential to understanding which companies can have a positive impact on society, the environment and business communities – whether that’s on a local, national or global scale.
BGF believes growing businesses also deserve the best talent and support possible. For this reason, it has built an unrivalled network of more than 6,000 independent directors that provides access to expertise, guidance and knowledge, whatever the sector, situation or geography.
Doing the right thing is part of our investment philosophy and an important driver of an enduring reputation. We believe that aligning to good ESG practices is essential in building strong, sustainable businesses. As a long-term investor, this is something that we are deeply committed to supporting – and that starts with our partnerships with investee companies.
What we stand by
UN Principles for Responsible Investment
In 2020, BGF became a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, a voluntary and aspirational set of investment principles that offer possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment best practice.
New Entrepreneurs Foundation
BGF is a sponsor of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, part of the Centre for Entrepreneurs – the UK’s leading entrepreneurship foundation.
One of ten pioneer funds, to a pilot of the Diversity VC standards, a programme and certification providing VCs with tools to open their networks and make funding more available to underrepresented founders.
Investing in Women Code
In 2020, BGF became a signatory of the Investing in Women Code, a commitment to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. This followed support for the Rose Review on Female Entrepreneurship.
The Diversity Project
Chaired by Dame Helena Morrissey, The Diversity Project was launched in 2016 as a cross-company initiative to champion a more inclusive culture within the Savings and Investment profession. Stephen Welton is Chair of the gender workstream of the Diversity Project.
Insider Dealmakers Award 2020
Private Equity House/Venture Capitalist of the Year; South West
Small deal of the Year; South West
Insider Dealmakers Award 2019
Deal of the Year; North West
Emerging Dealmaker of the Year; Midlands
Private Equity / Venture Capital Deal of the Year; Northern Ireland
Barclays Entrepreneur Awards 2019
Deal of the Year; North West
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