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British Business Bank: Enterprise Capital Fund [Annual Review 2020]

Finance and Risk Capital

Impact for scaleups


Companies backed


Investment outside of London

Key sectors

Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Building & Construction Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Creative, digital, film, games & media Professional services Defence & security Technology & Communications Engineering / Advanced Engineering Transport & Logistics Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme is a significant part of the UK venture capital industry, combining private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses. In 2017, the Government announced a commitment of up to £1bn to the programme over the next ten years.

The ECF programme is designed to increase the supply of equity to UK growth companies and to lower the barriers to entry for fund managers looking to operate in the venture capital market. It is working with 31 Fund partners across the UK.

Since their inception in 2006, 28 ECFs have been launched, supporting more than 550 innovative growing businesses across a range of sectors. The top five sectors supported by ECFs are SaaS, AI, industrials, e-commerce, and healthcare – 49 per cent of the investments are outside of London.

The British Business Bank invests alongside VC funds on terms that improve the outcome for private investors when those funds are successful. The ECF programme has helped 16 fund managers to raise their first institutional fund and so far 63% of these have already gone on to raise a further fund. The average size of an ECF has increased from £20m to closer to £60m during the lifetime of the programme.

From inception, the ECF programme has committed more than £1.36bn of finance, of which British Business Bank has contributed almost £795m. The bank operates a rolling investment programme for commitments to new ECFs and welcomes new applications from UK fund managers.

In June 2020, its £50m cornerstone funding in Epidarex Capital III made it the largest ECF to date and the first to specialise in life sciences. 

The current fund partners include: Accelerated Digital Ventures, Active Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners, Catapult Ventures, Dawn Capital, Edge Capital, Entrepreneur First, Episode 1, Foresight Group, Imbiba, IQ Capital, Longwall Ventures, MMC Ventures, Notion Capital, Panoramic Growth Equity, Passion Capital, Pentech, Seraphim Capital, Sussex Place Ventures, VGC Partners, Epidarex, Ada Ventures.

British Business Bank: Enterprise Capital Fund [Annual Review 2020] website