European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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British Business Bank


The British Business Bank is a government-owned financial institution. It drives economic growth by making finance markets work better for smaller businesses in the UK, allowing those businesses to prosper and grow. Its aim is to make finance markets work better for small businesses in the UK at all stages of their development: starting up, scaling up and staying ahead. The main goals the British Business Bank wants to achieve are:

  • Increase the supply of finance available to smaller businesses where markets don’t work well.
  • Create a more diverse and vibrant finance market for smaller businesses, with a greater choice of options and providers.
  • Build confidence in the market by increasing smaller businesses’ understanding of the options available to them.
  • Achieve this whilst managing taxpayer resources efficiently and within a robust risk management framework.

Smaller businesses don’t obtain finance directly from the British Business Bank. Instead, It provides finance and apply guarantees through commercial lenders and investors, who use these financial resources – together with their own money – to lend to or invest in smaller UK businesses. The British Business Bank operates right across finance markets, from supporting early-stage equity funding, through the provision of growth capital, to senior debt for established SMEs.
This support covers smaller UK businesses in three broad areas:

  • Start-up – mentoring and funds to be your own boss’.
  • Scale-up– finance for businesses growing quickly or those with the potential to do so.
  • Stay ahead– more funding options and greater choice of providers for expansion and working capital.

During 2017/18, the British Business Bank supported many smaller businesses at all stages (including start-ups) from the national and regional programmes:

  • increasing the total stock of finance provided through our programmes by 33%;
  • supporting further diversity of finance, delivering 96% of its support through smaller banks, non-bank lenders, alternative lenders and equity investors;
  • expanding how the bank promotes information about finance options, helping businesses to become more aware of, consider and explore their options; and
  • achieving a 4.7% adjusted return on capital, exceeding the target set by the government shareholder.