British Business Bank backs leisure business fund

Imbiba has closed its growth fund at its hard cap target of £50m after securing £30m of investment from the British Business Bank.

The specialist leisure and hospitality investment group’s Imbiba Growth Fund will provide growth capital and operational support to young and dynamic leisure businesses looking to grow in the UK.

The £30m contribution from the British Business Bank came from its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which combines private and public money to make equity investments in high-growth businesses.

Around £1.14bn has been committed through this programme, which is a significant part of the UK venture capital industry with 27 funds facilitating finance to 421 SMEs.

“The expansion of our Enterprise Capital Funds programme is a central part of the Bank’s work to grow the UK’s patient capital market and ensure high-growth, smaller businesses can access the equity finance they need to realise their growth potential,” said Ken Cooper, managing director for venture solutions at the British Business Bank.

“We are delighted to have completed this investment into the Imbiba Growth Fund and to partner with the team at Imbiba, who have a history of success in supporting high-growth UK companies.”

John Connell, chairman of Imbiba, said it was pleased to have raised this new fund to provide capital and operational support to businesses in this sector. 

“Having traded through different economic cycles over the last 20 years, we see some fantastic opportunities in the current leisure market and believe that an agile £50m fund will be key to help to drive the growth of some of the more dynamic businesses in our industry.”

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