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Back to the Future Fund

Startups and innovative companies are seen as one of the UK’s economic strengths but the COVID-19 crisis left many without access to the government’s Coronavirus business support programmes. This is because they are typically either pre-revenue or pre-profit and rely on equity investment. The government’s response was to launch the  Future Fund, delivered by the British Business Bank, which PwC stepped in quickly to implement.

Setting the scene

The Future Fund was announced by the Chancellor on 20 April. One month later the British Business Bank opened the £250m programme to applications providing government-backed loans worth between £125k and £5m to innovative companies, as long as the money is at least matched by private investors. The Future Fund aims to protect those innovative companies with good potential that will be essential in ensuring the UK retains its world leading position in science, innovation and technology.

We helped support the design, build and ongoing administration of the fund. This was a truly one firm effort, led by Deals and Consulting teams supported by deep expertise from Risk Assurance, Tax and PwC Operate’s managed solutions team. 

Despite the challenges of remote working in the midst of COVID-19, we were able to launch the Future Fund scheme within 15 days and facilitated the first payment to an applicant within one month of the scheme launch.

“The Future Fund project embodies our purpose of solving important problems and building trust in society by significantly contributing to wider society and assisting companies in the midst of a financial crisis. This is a model example of our team embodying the PwC values and acting in the best interest of our people and our communities.”

Robert Boulding, Deals Partner

How we helped

We initially deployed 150 delivery and operational specialists to work around the clock to mobilise the project alongside tailoring existing Salesforce technology assets developed in Consulting - and brought in others where subject matter expertise was required to get the scheme launched and off of the ground.

Within a matter of weeks, we had created the processes, controls, data requirements, technology and operational structures for British Business Bank and PwC to conduct application processing, cash payouts and portfolio administration activities, including fraud, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) for the Future Fund. 

We also developed secure data storage and created bespoke workflow solutions built to manage surge capacity. These solutions meant that we were able to respond rapidly to market demand for the Future Fund applications.

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“This was another example of multi-disciplined teams from across the firm coming together to build and operate a bespoke solution to a complex issue at pace. Playing our part in helping the Future Fund enable the UK to retain its world leading position in science, innovation and technology.”

Ian McConnell, Operate Partner

Making a difference

Our team enabled the Chancellor of Exchequer to achieve his goal of launching the Future Fund scheme within a month of its announcement.

And within the first 14 weeks of the scheme’s launch, the Future Fund issued convertible loans to 422 applications, equating to matched government funding of £393 million. This has been a lifeline, meaning some of the UK’s most promising companies can survive and thrive through the current period of economic disruption, so they are able to continue their growth trajectory and reach their full economic potential.

Some of the first companies to secure investment supported by the Future Fund scheme include a plant-based restaurant, a clean energy company, and a ‘craft’ soft drinks maker. 

We also helped British Business Bank manage the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

“We’ve been impressed with how the PwC team worked together with us to design and launch the Future Fund economic response scheme. From an announcement by the Chancellor on 20 April to the Future Fund launch on 20 May, followed by funding released to companies that needed it on 16 June, was a tremendous effort by everyone involved. It demonstrates that a shared sense of purpose and collaborative working culture can deliver great things.”

Shanika Amarasekara, General Counsel at the British Business Bank and lead on the Future Fund

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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