Investment channel the Business Growth Fund says it has had its strongest year to date in the Midlands.

BGF invested in nine businesses in 2015, bringing the total number of Midlands-based companies in its portfolio to 20.

Out of the total investment of £120 million made by the Midlands team since it launched in 2011, £64.8 million has been invested during the past 12 months.

This year, BGF has backed companies across a diverse range of sectors including Walsall-based glass processing group Brownhills, Kingswinford media design firm Simworx and PPS, a South Staffordshire-based provider of returnable transit packaging services.

BGF has also bolstered its team this year and now employs ten investors, based in the firm's offices in Church Street in Birmingham city centre, which covers the Midlands region.

Gavin Petken, regional director for the Midlands, said: "2015 has been a strong year for the Midlands team, having invested in more businesses than any other year before.

"As Birmingham establishes itself as a growing enterprise hub, it must now keep pace with London and the South East, as well as the emerging Northern Powerhouse, in attracting jobs and investment.

"Our aim is to help growing businesses with big ambitions to scale up and we are excited to see what the future holds for these Midlands companies over the coming months.

"We are confident that, as we approach 2016 and what will be our fifth anniversary, more fast-growing businesses will look at how long-term equity investment can help them to achieve their commercial goals."

The Business Growth Fund provides capital to small- and mid-sized businesses of between £2 million and £10 million in exchange for equity and is backed by five high street banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.