BGF, the business growth fund set up to help the UK’s growing smaller and medium-sized firms, has appointed Sarah Ledwidge as an investment manager for Wiltshire, the Thames Valley and Hampshire.
Sarah, pictured, will be responsible for identifying investable businesses and working with them to achieve their growth plans. Her appointment brings BGF’s Bristol-based regional investment team to nine staff and follows investments of £4m in April into Corsham and Farnborough-based Skyscape Cloud Services, the leading provider of cloud infrastructure services to the public sector, and £2m earlier this month into Maidenhead-based specialist pharmaceutical company Abbey Pharma, which trades as Intrapharm Laboratories.
Sarah has extensive experience in credit, restructuring, investing and portfolio management. She spent the past year on secondment at LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group in London and Reading, where she was an investment manager in the new business investment team, originating and transacting deals across a range of sectors.
Prior to this, she spent nine years at Lloyds Banking Group in a range of corporate business banking roles.
BGF provides long-term equity investment for growing companies that do not have access to this source of capital. As such, it hopes to be a catalyst for growth among smaller UK companies.
It invests between £2m and £10m into the businesses in return for a minority equity stake and a seat on the board for a BGF director.
BGD regional director Paul Oldham said: “BGF has enjoyed a really good six months and we are talking with more exciting companies than ever. Sarah’s extensive experience in investing in a range of businesses of all sizes and sectors will be invaluable.
“At BGF we like to be close to the businesses we back and we are particularly keen to build our presence in the Thames Valley and Hampshire where we know that there are many growing businesses that can benefit from BGF’s growth capital and support. Sarah’s appointment will give us a significant boost to our coverage here.”
Nationally, the BGF team now totals 100 people across seven offices and has invested more than £300m in 60 companies. In the South West, Wales and Thames Valley it has invested around £50m in nine businesses drawn from the oil and gas manufacturing, online retail, technology manufacturing, software, consumer goods and construction sectors.
It is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5bn, backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered.