Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF)
The £40 million Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) was formally launched last summer and has completed its first debt and equity deals.
The fund management team is based in Threemilestone, Truro with satellite work spaces in Launceston, Penzance and the Eden Project.
The fund is ideal for developing small and medium sized businesses who have a viable growth plan and are either based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, or who intend to move their material operation to the region.
The fund offers both debt and equity, and has been set up in response to an identified market gap in debt and equity finance in the region. It has two main elements:
Debt finance, from £25,000 to £1 million: this is designed for smaller businesses needing to borrow for a wide range of purposes including filling funding gaps in growth capital, funding expansion projects, employing new staff and investing in new machinery and equipment.
Equity finance, from £50,000 to £2 million: In simple terms, equity financing is the raising of capital through the sale of shares in a business. An equity investment could be right if you have ambitious growth plans that need long term funding. Rather than requiring regular interest payments the fund will share in the success of your company. This can be particularly useful for companies with high growth potential or those innovating with new products or services.
The intention is that this fund will create a legacy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly from successful equity investment and lending, which can then be re- invested and also from time to time added to with new funds. All of this will be for the benefit of small and medium sized businesses in the region, or who wish to locate here.
The government-owned British Business Bank (BBB) and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have collaborated to set up the fund and the Bank will operate it.. There are only three funds of this type in the UK, the other two being the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.
The LEP is advising British Business Bank through an advisory board, which I chair. The Fund Manager is FSE Group, who are responsible for both the equity and debt funds. SWIG Finance, who have been active in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SME lending market for almost 30 years, are supporting FSE on delivering smaller business loans as part of the £20 million allocation for debt finance.
As Chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board I’d be more than happy if anyone would like to contact me with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Acornley is a non-executive director of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.