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Back to News Sean Hutchinson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank

9th February 2021

NPIF upbeat about investment plans

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Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has vowed to continue supporting businesses across the region as they look to “navigate through the turbulence ahead and the challenges that brings”, a senior figure has told Insider. Sean Hutchinson also discussed why he is optimistic about 2021 and which sectors he expects to thrive in the year ahead.

Sean Hutchinson, a senior investment manager at British Business Bank, has spoken to Insider about how the region navigated the pandemic and what lies ahead for those eyeing investment.

“Working with our fund managers, we have been impressed with the economic resilience and ability to adapt to new economic restrictions demonstrated by small businesses in the region,” he said.

“While the focus for many has been on survival, there are still opportunities to use capital to develop new products and services, move into new markets, upskill teams and take on new staff.

“As such, the NPIF plan and priority is to continue to support businesses in the North to navigate through the turbulence ahead and the challenges that brings, as well as working closely with our partners and stakeholders to support and champion those innovating within our communities.”

Hutchinson noted that despite the recent set back created by the New Year lockdown restrictions, there is an “anticipation that a regional economic recovery in the North West will grow as life starts to return to some sort of normality later this year”.

“Many business owners and entrepreneurs have pivoted their businesses to adapt to the current economic environment and many will also be planning to pivot again as the recovery takes hold.

“We are likely to see a strong push in marketing and business development activities as entrepreneurs grasp growth opportunities and look to accelerate away and attract the market back and find new markets.”

As far 2020’s most active industries, Hutchinson believes there would some “stand out sectors and sub-sectors” that saw a significant rise in demand for investment, which “will likely continue into 2021”.

“Many of these include businesses that have pivoted or expanded their capabilities to support in the UK-wide effort to counteract Covid-19,” he said. “These sectors include digital technology, life sciences and clean technologies and advanced manufacturing, in which NPIF has invested a total £26.4m.”

Conversely, Hutchinson expects a number of sectors to be “more reserved in the coming months” such as retail, tourism and leisure.

“While the short-term impact in these sectors will no doubt be severe, we could see a strong bounce back when the vaccine is fully rolled out.”

As far as NPIF’s plans go, Hutchinson concluded: “In 2020, we hit a number of important milestones and secured additional capital for the fund, which will make a real difference to the business community in the North.

“In 2021, I expect to see this success continue, further targets surpassed and even more businesses bringing their innovative plans to life with the help of NPIF and its partners.”

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.

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