The British Business Bank has launched the initial phase of ‘Help to Grow’, which is expected to support around £200m (€258m) of growth loans in its first two years.

Lloyds Banking Group was announced as the delivery partner for the first £30m of lending supported by the programme.

"Loans of up to £2m will support the development of new products and processes, stimulate research and innovation and help businesses target new export markets," wrote the British Business Bank.

The lending will be available to businesses across all sectors, and is expected to benefit most those with high levels of innovation and growth ambition – such as manufacturing businesses, creative industries and the technology sector.

The initial phase of Help to Grow was increased from £100m to £200m in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2016. The programme is supported by the European Investment Fund.

Keith Morgan, chief executive officer at British Business Bank, said: "This first £30m of the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow programme will enable innovative and ambitious smaller businesses to raise the debt they need to fund their growth opportunities. It is an important milestone for the British Business Bank in our ambitions to encourage and support UK businesses to scale-up and achieve their potential.

"We want to replicate the drive and dynamism evident in the UKs start-up culture in later stages of the small business journey, and Help To Grow has a critical role to play in achieving that.

"We are pleased to announce our partnership with Lloyds Banking Group and to be working with the European Investment Fund to bring this vitally important finance to the UK market."