SME funding from local angels is a finite pool of capital. Scottish Enterprise, had to find a way to improve liquidity and invest more money
o The Scottish Co-Investment Fund (SCIF) is funded by the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) with support from the European Regional Development Fund and provides equity funding to eligible businesses. SCF invested on a pari passu basis with one or more of 29 accredited private sector investment partners. The SCF contributed from £100,000 to £1m on a £ for £ basis in investments with Partners with a total value of up to £2m and with the SIB contribution not exceeding 50% of the deal value.
o SIB co-invested with angel investors or syndicates or with other qualifying investment funds. Angels are individuals who invest their own money into new or early stage companies. Differently from other investors they take a hands on approach to investment and are responsible for the investment decision. Syndicates are groups of angels who come together to make larger investments, although the individuals still make their own decisions on each investment.
The main focus is on young and growing SMEs who are facing the challenges of the “Funding Gap” These companies tend to have willing investors but are still some way short of the investment they need to fully achieve their potential. The scheme also aimed to demonstrate that investment in these types of company could be successful and attract in more venture capital.
The fund is not sector specific but restricts certain categories such as: Real estate; personal services; Retail, Pubs, clubs, Banking, nuclear decommissioning

Resources needed

The SCIF is funded by the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) with support from the European Regional Development Fund and provides equity funding to eligible businesses. The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm. SIB contributes to partners due diligence costs

Evidence of success

By 2008 report the SCIF was the Fund had invested some £28 million in 100 companies (of which 8 failed). A key metric is to attract in additional funders. SCIF an additional £2.43 for each £. £1.42 was from accredited partners, £0.96 from other private sources, and £0.06 other public sector funds
From 2009 to 2015 139 businesses benefited from investment totalling £45.5m made through the SCF matched by £74.5m of Partner investment
Since 2003, 240 companies have been supported

Difficulties encountered

The Issue of the "funding gap" remains and over time the Scottish Investment Bank has evolved to create sector specific funds for strategically important sectors such as renewable energies also created or supported other funding eg in accessing loans e.g. Business Loan Scotland and Lending Crowd

Potential for learning or transfer

Co-investment is an efficient way to deliver funds as it uses the qualified angle partners due diligence process with the reassurance that experienced angel actively contribute to the management of the companies invested in. There is a low overhead cost as all proposals to SCIF are pre-screened and have investment already committed. The process of investment approval of funds from SCIF is very fast and mainly procedural as the SCIF follows investment judgement of the accredited partners.
This co-investment approach was designed for a conventional funding approach and applies equally to alternative financing platforms akin to "Crowd Platforms"

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Main institution
Scottish Government
Eastern Scotland, United Kingdom
Start Date
October 2003
End Date


Iain Shirlaw Please login to contact the author.

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