The British Business Bank’s mission is to make finance markets work better so smaller businesses across the UK can prosper and grow.
Historically, smaller businesses have encountered persistent barriers to accessing finance, for example:
- Younger businesses with a shorter track record can find it difficult to access finance.
- Owing to the UK’s concentrated finance market, there has been a narrow choice of finance type and provider.
- Businesses either lack knowledge of finance choices, or are not confident in applying for them, meaning they are less likely to find the right finance.
- All these issues are amplified in regions outside of London and the South East of England.
These, and related issues, led to the formation of the British Business Bank in late 2014. Since then, we have made strong progress in delivering interventions to address these challenges. Our work over the last six years and the foundations we have built enabled us to respond quickly and positively to the unprecedented economic shock of Covid-19 in March 2020.
The British Business Bank’s objectives
Our objectives set out to tackle the most significant market weaknesses, as evidenced by our own and others’ research and analysis, with the goal of providing better outcomes for smaller businesses.
We have four market-oriented objectives focused on improving the finance marketplace for smaller businesses.
Two further objectives complement them, driving our delivery approach. One underpins how we execute our market-oriented objectives by balancing risk and return, and the other leverages the knowledge we gain from both running our own programmes, and conducting research, analysis and stakeholder engagement across UK smaller business finance markets.
In delivering on these objectives, we seek to be ‘additional’ – undertaking activities in the market that would not otherwise occur. In doing so, we avoid displacing existing private market activity and so can create a demonstrably net positive impact for the UK economy.
As a government-owned economic development bank, it’s also important that we should pursue these strategic objectives throughout the economic cycle. As such, we must remain ready to deliver effectively not only in the periods of good economic growth, but also in times of economic crisis and downturn. This principle has been particularly important towards the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
At moments of economic stress, we act in a countercyclical manner, maintaining and/or increasing our market exposure while other market participants may be disengaging. In this, we recognise our responsibility, as a government-backed entity, to contribute to the financial stability and resilience of the UK, in support of businesses and their employees, as well as the wider economy and society.
Increase the supply of finance
To increase the supply of finance to smaller businesses where markets don’t work well.Read more
Help increase diversity of finance
To help create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses, with greater choice of options and providers.Read more
Address regional imbalances in access to finance
To identify and help to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK.Read more
Encourage and enable SMEs to find appropriate finance
To encourage and enable smaller businesses to seek the finance best suited to their needs.Read more
To be the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK
providing advice and support to governmentRead more
To achieve our other objectives whilst managing taxpayers’ money efficiently
within a robust risk management frameworkRead more