BGF Expands Regional Network With Key Appointments

September 2011

London – the £2.5 billion Business Growth Fund (BGF), established to help Britain's fast growing smaller and medium sized businesses, today announced the appointment of Andy Gregory as Regional Director for the North of England, Northern Ireland and North Wales; and Marion Bernard as Regional Director for London and the South East. Both directors will lead investment in their regions, supporting BGF backed companies as board members, and will sit on the BGF's national investment committee.

The BGF also announced today that it has opened its fifth office in Manchester, where Andy Gregory will be based.

Previously Andy Gregory was an Investment Partner with investment firm Key Capital Partners, based in Manchester. He has significant experience of investing in the region having formerly worked at the Manchester offices of ISIS Equity Partners, Bridgepoint, and Royal Bank Development Capital. He also had industry experience, having participated in the successful BIMBO of Manchester based retail software company, Pennine Retail Systems Ltd, as Group Finance Director.

Marion has eighteen years experience of funding small and medium sized businesses from across the UK. Most recently she served as Chief Executive of Northstar, a venture capital company actively investing in the North East of England, where she had overall responsibility for over 50 equity investments across a range of sectors including technology, media, healthcare, and cleantech. Prior to Northstar, Marion gained banking and venture capital experience with Barclays and 3i in London.

Stephen Welton, Chief Executive of the BGF commented:

“Andy and Marion have significant experience of creating, building and supporting small and medium sized businesses in key UK regions. Both share our commitment to developing a strong regional presence and local connections with businesses. With their help we look forward to finding and funding fast growing companies and talented management teams who, with our help, can become star businesses of tomorrow.”

He added: “Our Manchester office is the fifth to open since our launch and with Andy’s help, we look forward to becoming an active member of the local business community.

The fund is making good progress in building its infrastructure, well ahead of plan, and we are strongly positioned to start putting our capital to work."

Andy Gregory, BGF Regional Director for the North of England, Northern Ireland and North Wales, commented:

“I have worked in the North West for many years and know it well. There are many businesses here that could benefit from the financial support and expertise that the BGF is offering as a partnership investor. I would urge businesses owners to come and talk to us. They will find our style direct and straightforward and our interests very much aligned with their own."

Marion Bernard, BGF Regional Director for London and the South East, commented:

"Over the last 18 years, I have worked closely with a wide range of small and medium sized businesses and have seen at first hand the benefits that investment has brought them. SMEs are known as the engine room of the UK economy. The UK boasts talented entrepreneurs and fantastic businesses with great potential but recent economic conditions and reduced levels of available funding have made it challenging for many of these to grow as fast as they would like. It is against this backdrop that the BGF is offering guidance, partnership and patient capital to fast growing businesses – a huge opportunity, which I am very excited to be part of."

The fund has appointed three regional directors since its launch in May 2011. Paul Oldham, Regional Director for the South West of England and Wales joined in July. Two further regional appointments are set to be made this year. The BGF’s nationwide headcount now stands at 50 people.