HSBC UK has launched a £650 million lending fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland, as part of its commitment to help businesses realise their ambitions for growth and navigate Brexit.
The Scotland Fund is part of a wider £14 billion fund for SMEs across the UK. Since launching the SME Fund in 2014, HSBC has committed more than £60 billion to UK SMEs as part of its commitment to help British businesses innovate, evolve and grow.
The HSBC UK 2019 Fund includes increased ring-fenced pots for international businesses and for the agriculture sector.
The allocation for international business has been doubled to £2 billion to help companies grow overseas, while the agriculture pot has increased to £1 billion from £300 million last year.
Mike Hemingway, HSBC UK’s Regional Business Banking Director for Scotland, said: “The launch of this year’s fund shows our commitment to support the growth aspirations of SMEs across Scotland, from Stranraer to Shetland.
“This fund is all about helping businesses like to take new opportunities and grow and we want to reassure them that we’re here to support them achieve their goals.”
As part of last year’s SME Fund, HSBC UK provided a seven-figure funding package to Pickering’s Gin, enabling the company to export its popular gin-filled baubles to the USA for the first time. The funding was used to make an increased number of its baubles ahead of the holiday season.
HSBC UK also provided a fifth-generation farm in Fife, A. Milne and Sons Farm, with £500,000 funding to purchase the equipment needed to produce local craft malt for Scotland’s brewers and distillers under the name Crafty Maltsters.
Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, added: “Our SME Fund will help companies seize new opportunities for growth at home and overseas.
“We’ve always supported ambitious businesses, and we see it as our responsibility to be there for our customers whether conditions are benign or challenging.
“This year’s Fund is therefore part of a broader range of initiatives that we have in place to support British business as they navigate Brexit in a fast-changing world.”
To help customers prepare for Brexit, HSBC UK has launched a dedicated helpline for customers with Brexit-related financial concerns and setup an online resource hub which provides support and advice on the steps businesses should take to plan for the future.
The bank has had more than 15,000 conversations with customers about Brexit so far this year and has held more than 60 sessions across the country to talk to SMEs about the current economic landscape and how to plan for growth.