New team to deliver £11.25m Rosebud fund

Manchester-headquartered GC Business Finance (GCBF) has been selected to deliver Lancashire County Council’s £11.25m Rosebud business finance fund.

The Rosebud fund has been managed by Mercia Fund Managers since its creation in 1986. However, it says its business model has now evolved to focus on higher value loans.

Under the new funding package, announced today, GCBF will oversee Rosebud loans from £10,000 to £300,000 for growing businesses in Lancashire over the next five years.

Rosebud now aims to create around 150 new jobs a year and will focus on sectors such as aerospace; advanced manufacturing; digital and creative; energy and environment; health innovation; and financial and professional services.

Graduate level jobs are an area of particular focus, according to the county council.

Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Over the last 30 years Rosebud has helped thousands of businesses across Lancashire to expand by tapping into finance to create new jobs, move premises and invest in technology.

“We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations. This will lead to new jobs being created, for the benefit of Lancashire residents.”

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at the county council, added: “GC Business Finance already works closely with the Access 2 Finance service in Lancashire and has strong relationships with local businesses and the professional services community.

We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.

“It will help provide a seamless transition for the delivery of Rosebud finance, helping businesses create employment opportunities, especially the graduate level jobs that can help us retain talent in Lancashire.”

Established in 2002, GC Business Finance provides a range of alternative finance options for growing businesses that have been unable to obtain funding through a mainstream lender.

It delivers more than £60m in finance to over 5,000 small and medium sized enterprises each year. This includes managing the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s ‘microfinance’ funds, providing loans of between £25,000 and £100,000 to businesses across the powerhouse area.

Paul Breen, director of GC Business Finance, said: “While we already deliver funding solutions in Lancashire, being able to offer Rosebud finance will add further value and capacity to the support we can offer to Lancashire businesses. We look forward to getting the Rosebud funds out to market and stimulating further economic growth.”

GC Business Finance’s Lancashire team will be based at Cotton Court in Preston. It will work alongside Lancashire County Developments, part of the council’s economic development service.

Paul Taberner, head of debt finance at Mercia, said: “It has been an enormous privilege to oversee the Rosebud fund over the last 30 years, during which time we have supported some great businesses which have gone on to do great things for the region.

“As the lending market continues to change, our business model has evolved to focus on higher value loans which is why we chose not to tender for the Rosebud contract this time.“

We will of course continue to support Lancashire businesses using our other funds and we wish GC Business Finance well as they continue to build on the success of Rosebud.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so through the county council website or Boost Business Lancashire. Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of the council.