We recognise the significant role early stage businesses play in London’s economy, not least being the creation of jobs and prosperity. But we also recognise the hurdles that business founders and management teams have to clear before securing growth capital. With many businesses still struggling to access finance, we bridge the London funding gap and enable real opportunities for sustainable growth.
In 2004, the then Mayor of London established SME Wholesale Finance (London) Ltd (now rebranded as Funding London), with a specific long term mandate to support the Economic Development Strategy for London through SME funding activities. Funding London was designed to act as a ‘holding vehicle’ for the Access to Finance Funds. The initial fund was financed by London Development Agency, European Regional Development Fund Programme (2000–2006) and the European Social Fund.
The establishment of an independent company to act as a holding fund was considered to be the most appropriate mechanism for this purpose given the additional possibilities it would allow, such as drawing in private sector finance and becoming a mechanism for funding that could be utilised over the longer term on a London-wide basis. This holding fund model is now replicated across the UK.
The initial operations and day to day functions were carried out from within the London Development Agency. In September 2009, Funding London was ‘spun out’ of the LDA and operations were handed over to the newly appointed Chief Executive, Maggie Rodriguez Piza. With increased independence (or autonomy) and the new leadership, we transformed ourselves into a commercial organisation, without deviating from our mandate. The management also comprises a board of six non-executive directors who provide strategic advice in their area of expertise. Since spinning off, there have been two major events:
Since our inception 11 years ago, we continue to channel funding from Europe and the UK, through appointed fund managers to sustainable and ambitious London SMEs. Our reinvestment model allow our funds to go back into the London ecosystem, making investments available to the next generation.