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West Midlands smaller businesses supporting net zero delivery, says British Business Bank

The Business Magazine article image for: West Midlands smaller businesses supporting net zero delivery, says British Business Bank
2 March 2023
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Smaller businesses in the West Midlands are increasing their focus on supporting net zero delivery as investment continues in the region according to figures revealed by the British Business Bank’s Small Business Finance Market Report 2022/23.

There has been a total of £137 million invested in net zero related deals between 2018 and Q3 2022 in the West Midlands, equating to four per cent of deals across the UK. Companies who have secured equity investment in the region include:

I-Phyc - a nature-based solutions company based in Worcester who use cutting-edge technology to remove nutrients and other contaminants while locking away carbon and creating sustainable products from municipal wastewater.
Grid Edge - an energy equipment and solutions company based in Birmingham who are focused on reducing energy demand with efficiency savings and improved operations and control.
Aceleron - an award-winning clean technology company based in Bromsgrove who work with lithium batteries which are not only serviceable and upgradable but are also recyclable.

According to a survey undertaken by Ipsos Mori for the report just over four in ten (46 per cent) West Midlands-based smaller businesses who prioritise environmental sustainability state that access to external finance is one of the main barriers they face to achieving that objective. Six in ten (61 per cent) of those businesses also stated the current economic climate as their main obstacle.

There has been a total of 43 announced equity deals in the region so far between Q1-Q3 2022, equating to £166m of investment value. This represents a decrease in investment by 47 per cent on the same period in the previous year, with 17% fewer deals taking place.

Demand for external finance has seen a considerable drop nationally in the demand for external finance. In Q3 2022, only 33 per cent of smaller businesses were using external finance compared to 44 per cent the year prior. This was also reflected across the West Midlands, with 32% of small businesses using external finance in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 45 per cent the year prior.

Dr Sophie Dale-Black, UK Network Director, Midlands at the British Business Bank, said: “The Small Business Finance Market report shows promising signs in the net zero deal sector in the West Midlands as equity finance markets respond to the growing demand for investment in green innovation, a trend seen across the UK.

“Smaller businesses in the West Midlands are clearly adapting to a challenging economic climate, with many reducing their use of external finance. At the British Business Bank, we are committed to supporting these businesses as they seek to achieve sustainable growth, and in turn boost economic productivity, by improving their access to external finance.”


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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