The funding will be available to established SMEs with annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million, which was recommended in the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s Affordable Capital for SME Growth report.
“Today’s launch of the Australian Business Growth Fund is fantastic news for high-growth potential SMEs who require essential long-term equity finance to flourish,” said ASBFEO Kate Carnell.
“In supporting our high-growth potential SMEs, the Australian Business Growth Fund will play a significant role in encouraging business growth and economic recovery at a time when we need it most.
“The fund will fill the critical gap, identified in our Affordable Capital for SME Growth report, for patient capital to enable our up-and-coming SMEs to succeed.
“While businesses need to demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability, there are allowances in place for the impact of the COVID crisis on recent business performance.”
Ms Carnell said the fund has appointed Anthony Healy as chief executive and Will Hodgman as chairman and will be managed by private sector expertise.
Further, she said minority shareholding of between 10 per cent and 40 per cent will enable these promising businesses to retain control of their company, while providing the funds they need to invest in growth.
“Similar models in the UK and Canada are tried and tested — overcoming barriers to accessing affordable capital for businesses that have gone on to demonstrate successful growth,” Ms Carnell said.
“We welcome both the federal government investment in the fund along with the major banks and financial institutions’ contribution.
“The fund is valued at $540 million and we welcome the ambition to grow the fund to $1 billion as it matures.”