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Equity investment into South East firms grows by 60% says British Business Bank

By Laurence Mcclenaghan
23 June 2022

The British Business Bank has revealed that equity investment in smaller South East based businesses reached a record £1.6bn last year.

The software sector in Oxford was the top sector by number of deals. The details were released in the Bank's annual Small Business Equity Tracker. A total of £386m was invested in South East in Q1 2022.

The life sciences sector in Cambridge saw the most deals across the period. Oxford was ranked in fifth place with an average of 60 deals worth on average £574m a year.

In line with the wider UK market, investment in South East technology and IP-based businesses received the greatest level of investment reaching almost £1bn (£982m) in investments in 2021.

The Bank’s analysis showed a 250% increase in investment in the South East life sciences sector, £475m, up from £136m the previous year.

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The increase in life sciences investment in the South East, exceeded a 75% increase and makes it the largest technology sub-sector by investment size.

The Bank supported around 10% of all announced equity deals in the South East and 14% of all announced UK equity deals in 2021.

The British Business Bank’s annual Small Business Equity Tracker highlights an increase in equity investment into smaller business based in the South East last year. The report found £1.6bn was invested in 2021, a 59% increase year on year. The number of announced deals in the South East increased by 24% to reach 269 throughout the period.

The report also concluded that increased equity investment in the South East mirrors the national picture. A total of £18.1bn was invested in smaller business across the country over 2021, the highest yearly amount since the Beauhurst data series began in 2011.

The strong momentum continued into Q1 2022, with £7.6bn of equity investment reaching smaller businesses, the highest amount invested in a single quarter at nearly double that of the £4.3bn in Q1 2021.

Steve Conibear, UK Network Director, South and East of England at the British Business: “Smaller businesses in the South East are showing impressive growth, especially in technology and IP based businesses that saw investment of almost £1bn.

"This further strengthens the South East’s position as a European tech hub. Access to external finance has been critical to the recovery in the South East. The British Business Bank will continue to support the region’s essential smaller businesses by improving access and options to secure external finance.”

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