NAB supports call for UK-style small business investment fund

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NAB supports call for UK-style small business investment fund

Own a successful small business but can’t find long-term investors? This may be of interest.

Australian small business owners may be interested to know that efforts are underway to improve access to long-term investment funds.

The Federal Government wants to establish the Australian Business Growth Fund, which would provide small businesses with access to long-term equity funding without taking on extra debt or giving up control of their businesses.

Today, National Australia Bank (NAB) announced it supported the concept and is "looking forward to further discussions" with the federal government about the potential establishment of the fund.

“We do believe there is more that can be done to provide SMEs with access to equity capital, and we take confidence from the UK Business Growth Fund having operated successfully for several years,” said NAB Chief Customer Officer, Business and Private Banking, Anthony Healy.

The UK Business Growth Fund, referred to by Healy, provides “patient” capital to small and medium-size businesses. It makes initial investments between £1 million (AU$1.8m) and £10 million (AU$18m), and takes a minority stake in businesses. The fund has invested in a wide range of sectors, from technology to hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.

The idea also received support today from Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Carnell called for other lenders to get behind the concept: “We call on all lenders to follow the lead of the National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and HSBC in supporting the establishment of the Australian Business Growth Fund,” she said.

$2 billion fund for small business loans

Cash-strapped small business owners may also be interested in today’s announcement that the Federal Government will pour $2 billion into a fund for loans to small businesses.

The government said its aim was to help small businesses that have trouble accessing loans. They often have to use their homes as collateral.

The Australian Business Securitisation Fund will increase the pool of capital available to small banks and non-bank lenders to lend to businesses on better terms, according to the government.

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