The £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has remained active despite nation-wide uncertainty, completing 61 deals worth over £14 million since the beginning of 2020. The fund, which provides a mix of debt, equity and micro-finance up to £2 million, has continued to invest in small businesses across the north of England and is still very much open for business
NPIF’s Microfinance fund managers which include GC Business Finance, MSIF, Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) and Finance For Enterprise are all accredited lenders of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) with a number of loans already being approved. This includes a £100,000 loan to support Altrincham-based Consensus Workspace and a £100,000 loan to enable Scarborough-based Spectrum Cleaning Solutions to diversify its offer by launching a new e-commerce platform.
These deals build on the significant impact that NPIF has already had on ambitious companies to date across 10 northern LEP areas. Since its launch in March 2017, fund managers have invested over £162 million into 601 businesses, bringing in an additional £167 million from the private sector. The sectors seeing the most impact from NPIF are manufacturing, tech, digital, creative and life sciences.
Roger Marsh, chairman of NPIF Strategic Oversight Board, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered the world in which businesses operate and targeted financial support has never been more important to ensure those companies, especially SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economy, survive and thrive.
“Now is a time of exceptional challenge to businesses, with access to finance and cashflow among the chief concerns many businesses have. I’m pleased to see the positive impact that NPIF is continuing to have across the North and encourage companies looking to innovate, diversify or scale-up – particularly to support the UK’s response to Covid-19 – to explore the support available.”
Ken Cooper, British Business Bank managing director, said: “Small businesses are facing unprecedented economic circumstances, so it is great to see that our fund is stepping up to the challenge of supporting them during this difficult time. We have been impressed by the response from all of our fund managers who are working hard to ensure local businesses can access vital funding, including from the CBILS, while also helping those companies that have already had NPIF funding. Although we’re now in a very different business environment, NPIF remains open for business, and will continue to make investments.”
The £400 million NPIF was launched in 2017 by the British Business Bank using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the UK Government and the European Investment Bank. NPIF forms a key part of the British Business Banks’ objective to help reduce regional funding disparities and encourage economic prosperity in the North of England.
NPIF works with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities and fund managers to provide micro-finance, debt and equity finance to businesses across the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and Tees Valley regions.
The funding options include micro-finance between £25,000 and £100,000, debt finance between £100,000 and £750,000 and equity finance up to £2 million.