Brunswick’s Jon Rhodes to head comms at Business Growth Fund

The £2.5bn Business Growth Fund established earlier this year by the banking industry to boost lending to UK businesses has named Brunswick partner Jon Rhodes as director of comms and marketing.

Business Growth Fund: to boost lending for UK business
Business Growth Fund: to boost lending for UK business

The private equity-style fund, launched in May this year, has been dubbed a ‘modern day 3i’ and is backed by five of the UK’s biggest banks.

The fund plans to invest between £2m and £10m into businesses with a turnover of £10m to £100m, taking an equity stake of between ten and 50 per cent.

Rhodes built and ran Brunswick’s public affairs practice, having joined the agency in 2004. He formerly worked as a policy adviser and speechwriter for the Labour Party in the run-up to the 1997 general election and subsequently joined PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, where he worked on press and public affairs issues, and helped write the 1998 White Paper on the future of the British film industry.

Rhodes commented: ‘BGF’s success will be built on the close relationships we can build with businesses across the UK, and with the communities of which they are a part. Fast-growing businesses need to be properly aware of what is on offer and how the BGF can help them fulfil their potential. First class comms lies at the heart of this process.’

The fund was established after talks between politicians and the banking industry and is supported by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Standard Chartered.

PRWeek wrote that the fund was seeking a permanent comms head in May, engaging Watson Helsby to lead the search.

Specialist private equity comms shop Equity Dynamics supports BGF’s media relations and key messaging.

BGF CEO Stephen Welton said: ‘Like the other members of our senior team, Jon will be working with our investee companies to offer first-rate counsel, fitting with our self-adopted mandate to provide the businesses we back with more than just money.

‘It is unlikely that those businesses will have had the opportunity to receive strategic comms advice from such a skilled and experienced professional. It is this approach that will enable the BGF to help build the big business brands of the future.’

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