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10 March, 2021 - 12:24 By Tony Quested

HSBC launches £325m SME fund for Cambs and Suffolk

HSBC has launched a £325 million fund for small and medium-sized enterprises in Cambridgeshire & Suffolk – part of a broader £15 billion lending fund to support SMEs across the UK.

The bank says the initiative is part of its commitment to help British businesses innovate and grow as the country looks to rebound from the Covid-19 crisis.

The fund, which includes over £10 billion of specific regionally focused allocations, will seek to ensure that companies throughout the country can benefit, supporting regional economies, employment opportunities and driving growth.

It also includes increased ring-fenced pots for businesses trading internationally (£2 billion), the agriculture sector (increased to £1.2 billion) and new ones for businesses in the tech sector (£500m) and franchise businesses (£500m).

Despite the challenging economic environment, 62 per cent of UK businesses intend to increase investment in their business in the next year, according to research from HSBC, with the focus on four fundamental areas of their business in 2021 – employee well-being, customer experience, cash flow/capital management and security.

Almost three quarters of UK businesses expect to have returned to pre pandemic levels of profitability by the end of 2022 and a fifth by the end of this year, plus nearly half of British companies are projecting sales growth.

Jagdeep Kaur Rai, HSBC UK’s Regional Business Banking Director for the South East, said: “We are committed to supporting businesses in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and we know they are adapting at pace and looking at what comes next. 

“We recently supported Peterborough-based warehousing and distribution specialist Bretts Transport to meet increased demand from its food service and retail customers, with the backing of the SME Fund.

“This fund is all about helping businesses to take new opportunities and grow and we want to reassure them that we’re here to support them achieve their goals.”

Peter McIntyre, Head of Small Business Banking at HSBC UK, added: “With the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk are starting to look ahead again.

“We’ve helped British business get through the last year with over £14bn of Covid-19 lending support. Now its time to turn our minds to what comes next and how we help companies grow again, opening up a world of opportunity and contributing towards a sustainable future society. 

“The £15 billion fund will help businesses across the South East to expand internationally and here at home, support key sectors and drive investment across regions.”

Since launching the SME Fund in 2014, HSBC has lent more than £75 billion to UK SMEs as part of its commitment to help British businesses innovate, evolve and grow.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Jagdeep Kaur Rai, HSBC UK's Regional Director for Business Banking in the South East

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