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16 October 2020

Business Growth Fund launch a boon for high growth potential SMEs

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says today’s formal establishment of the Australian Business Growth Fund is excellent news for high growth potential SMEs.

The Australian Business Growth Fund, as recommended in the Ombudsman’s Affordable Capital for SME Growth report, will allow established SMEs with annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million, to apply for long-term equity capital investment of between $5 million and $15 million.

“Today’s launch of the Australian Business Growth Fund is fantastic news for high growth potential SMEs who require essential long-term equity finance to flourish,” Ms Carnell says.

“The fund will fill the critical gap, identified in our Affordable Capital for SME Growth report, for patient capital to enable our up-and-coming SMEs to succeed.

“While businesses need to demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability, there are allowances in place for the impact of the COVID crisis on recent business performance.

“Importantly the fund has appointed Anthony Healy as CEO and Will Hodgman as Chairman and will be managed by private sector expertise.  

“Minority shareholding of between 10% and 40% will enable these promising businesses to retain control of their company, while providing the funds they need to invest in growth.

“Similar models in the UK and Canada are tried and tested – overcoming barriers to accessing affordable capital for businesses that have gone on to demonstrate successful growth.

“We welcome both the federal government investment in the fund, along with the major banks and financial institutions’ contribution.

“The fund is valued at $540 million and we welcome the ambition to grow the fund to $1 billion as it matures.

“In supporting our high growth potential SMEs, the Australian Business Growth Fund will play a significant role in encouraging business growth and economic recovery at a time when we need it most.”