Former Leeds United footballer Danny Mills and retail entrepreneur Tim Whitworth are among the backers of a new fund launched by private equity house Endless.
The pair have joined veteran banker Wayne Bowser and senior accountant Stuart Counsell on the advisory board of the £10m fund.
The investment vehicle, called Enact, will be targeted at small and medium-sized businesses that are struggling to get bank debt.
“It can help businesses that are victims of the current funding market,” said Chris Clegg, managing director of Endless.
Enact’s strategy is to invest in SMEs across the UK that have a robust business model, but are facing cash flow constraints, strategic or operational issues.
It has been launched at a time when traditional funders such as banks and private equity have become increasingly focused on mature and stable companies with limited appetite to support businesses in more challenging situations.
Mr Clegg said Enact will fill a much-needed funding gap in the SME market as banks continue to limit levels of funding to smaller businesses.