The Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) has become an accredited lender under the British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This approval means that GLIF funds managed by The FSE Group will repurpose £4.3 million in funding to provide “Coronavirus Resilience Loans” (CRLs).
CRLs are described as a temporary measure to support London’s SMEs who wish to preserve or adapt their existing capacity and strengthen their business during the exceptional COVID-19 impacted environment, to ensure they are able to maximise growth opportunities as market conditions recover.
GFIL operates as a £100 million fund of funds, managed by Funding London. GLIF supports economic growth by providing loan and equity finance for London’s SMEs, through its investments in three sub-funds. Funding London was established in 2004 to provide venture capital and loans, on behalf of the Mayor of London.
Since its launch in May 2019, GLIF has invested £12.5 million in 33 early-stage and high-growth companies through its equity and loan funds. The fund was established to support high growth companies but since the end of March SMEs have had to refocus their strategies on resilience until the UK is able to resume normal economic activity. Due to COVID-19, GLIF has been working with FSE Group to enable funds to support SMEs in this time of crisis.
Expectations are that the CRL product will be available from 29th June until the end of September – in line with the CBILS guarantee.
Kala Desai, Head of Funds for The FSE Group, who manage the £55 million GLIF debt fund on behalf of Funding London, said that together with the Fund’s core growth loans the CBILS product provides them with the opportunity to support SMEs to both sustain through the current market conditions, and also to position themselves to capitalise on future growth opportunities. Desai said it is key to remember that UK businesses are both resilient and creative:
“… we look forward to be able to offer debt facilities to assist London’s innovative high growth SMEs,” said Desai.
Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, added:
“The need for alternative sources of funding has never been greater than in the current circumstances. We are delighted that GLIF’s loan funds have been accredited by the British Business Bank to repurpose funding to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Alongside our partner, FSE Group, we have the systems in place to start deploying the capital allocated under CBILS and will continue to do so over the coming months, ensuring start-ups and scale-ups receive the necessary support.”