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Santander launches £200m SME fund

07 December 2011

			Santander launches £200m SME fund

Santander UK has launched a £200m fund targeted at fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The programme will be delivered regionally and includes a £50m contribution from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to encourage lending at the smaller end of the investment range in the UK’s more economically challenged areas.

Dubbed the “Breakthrough Programme”, the fund is designed to offer SMEs an alternative form of financing to equity investment for business owners which don’t want to give up a large proportion of their business for capital.

The loans will be available to businesses with annual turnover of up to £10m which can demonstrate a history of high year on year growth in turnover, profit or employment.

The programme is also offering businesses access to support and development programmes, including fully funded overseas trade missions, funded internships, networking events and training courses, and opportunities to learn firsthand from companies such as Google and LoveFilm.

Steve Pateman, Santander executive director of corporate, commercial and business banking, said: “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.

The programme is in addition to Santander UK’s pledge to lend £4bn to SMEs in 2011 as part of the Project Merlin agreement with the government.

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