As it reaches the second anniversary of its launch, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) is celebrating having directly invested £100m in 385 Northern-based SMEs, in deals that have attracted an additional £84m of investment from the private sector.
The £400m investment fund was launched in 2017 by the British Business Bank using funding from the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government and the European Investment Bank. NPIF forms a key part of the BBB’s activities to help reduce regional funding imbalances and create economic prosperity in the North of England.
Over the last two years, NPIF has worked with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Combined Authorities, local accountants, fund managers and banks to provide both debt and equity finance to SMEs across the North West, Yorkshire & Humber and Tees Valley regions.
The funding has enabled businesses to scale up through product launches, expansion into new markets and investment in staff and infrastructure. NPIF offers various funding options, including microfinance solutions between £25,000 and £100,000, debt finance between £100,000 and £750,000, or equity finance up to £2m.
Recent NPIF investments include:
- Leeds-based Force24, which has developed one of the UK’s leading marketing automation platforms, has secured a £250,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance to further develop its product and introduce new features.
- NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance provided £250,000 to Rotherham-headquartered Beta Engineering Services Limited which generates innovative process improvements and high quality, cost effective solutions across a range of batch sizes and difficult materials. The investment will be used to support the ongoing and future growth of this Sheffield City Region company.
- Humber-based health-tech start-up Moodbeam has developed an award-winning device to enhance mental wellbeing. The company has secured a £200,000 investment from NPIF-Mercia Equity Finance to allow the business to fund the protection of its products.
- A £250,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance in York-based Hawthorne Contract Services Limited (Hcomm), a family-run business which provides high-quality, niche telecoms solutions. Hcomm will use the funding to tender for larger contracts and increase its headcount by employing a new project engineer and installations manager. The investment will also help bolster the company’s Apprenticeship Training Scheme.
Jake Berry MP, Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund plays a vital role in supporting businesses to grow, innovate, create new jobs and boost skills across the Northern Powerhouse. The investments so far demonstrate what can be achieved when the Government works hand-in-hand with both the private and public sectors to support businesses and communities to thrive.”
Kelly Tolhurst, Small Business Minister, said: “Having been a small business owner myself I recognise the importance of giving businesses the right tools to succeed, which is why I’m delighted to welcome the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s milestone and its work with SMEs in the North.”
“Small businesses, wherever they are in the UK, are the backbone of our economy and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are committed to helping the UK remain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”
Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of the NPIF Strategic Oversight Board and Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “As Chairman of NPIF’s Strategic Oversight Board, I am proud to see the impact these funds are having on innovation and job creation within the North of England.
“Having previously been stifled by a lack of funding options, we are now seeing Northern businesses make the most of this opportunity and unlock their true potential. It is encouraging to see the funds being deployed so quickly, and we hope to continue this momentum in NPIF’s third year.”
Ken Cooper, managing director of British Business Bank, said: “We are just two years into this fund’s life but already we can see NPIF having a measurable impact on business growth in the North of England. Investments from our funds are boosting job creation and unlocking growth potential across a wide spectrum of business opportunities.
“The number of SMEs supported and the amount of investment made has exceeded our original expectations and shows what can be achieved when the British Business Bank, Government, Local Enterprise Partnerships and fund managers work together.
“Whilst there is more to do to balance the regional disparities across the country, I am looking forward to our third year, during which NPIF will continue to support established and emerging businesses in the North.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.