Vimeo logo LinkedIn logo


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

14th October 2022

Business Matters: The Social Impact of NPIF investment


Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, discusses how funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund  is helping regional businesses to make meaningful change in their communities and further afield.

The North is a tightly stitched patchwork quilt of growth, drive, and innovation, and at its centre is a thriving community characterised by its strength of spirit. This potent combination is integral to success of the North as a hotbed for ambitious businesses.

Here at the British Business Bank, it’s a pleasure to be involved with this community of businesses through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), that plays a vital role in enabling businesses to reach their goals. Alongside access to finance, the NPIF network brings funders, business owners and support networks together, helping business communities across the Northern Powerhouse regions to thrive.

There are some great individual examples of ambitious NPIF-backed businesses that are making a measurable difference in the regional economy as well as in their local communities.

Leeds-based Little Journey is behind a ground-breaking app for children undergoing surgical procedures by taking them on a virtual journey through the hospital, explaining who they will meet and what they can expect. It includes games, relaxation guides, and information guides for parents.

After securing a £150,000 NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance investment in February, the company has grown to new heights. It has been able to further develop its app and reduce anxiety in children. It has since seen monumental success, with the app being used in over 50 hospitals worldwide and winning a contract to support one of the world’s largest clinical research organisations. It has seen remarkable results, showing to have reduced anxiety in high-risk patients such as those with ADHD or autism by 30%, whilst a direct result of the app was a reduction in same day cancellations of operations by a staggering 42%.

Little Journey is a great example of an ambitious business that has been provided with the springboard it needed to make an impact. The app has had great success in bringing about smoother operative services, delivering its services both locally and exporting them overseas.

Sheffield-based coding education centre Developer Academy is another example of how NPIF funding has allowed a business to make a real impact. The centre was set up to address a nation-wide skills gap in coding and is helping to kickstart careers for Northern students. It received a £75,000 NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance investment, allowing the company to expand its team and deliver a greater variety of courses.

The impact of their work is felt both in the creation of new jobs within the business itself, and in providing a stable output of trained coders capable of closing the skills gap and take on roles in businesses who are looking to recruit staff.

By investing in businesses in a wide variety of sectors with varying purposes, NPIF has created a network of innovative businesses that are making a real impact. From building a low carbon economy to upskilling local communities and delivering new jobs, or even providing new facilities and better healthcare services for vulnerable young people, there are countless empowering stories from the portfolio.

There will always be upcoming and ambitious businesses that contribute to the development of the North, and we look forward to aiding ambitious and driven businesses to grow and reach their goals.

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.




Find Out More

If you would like to meet with one of our appointed Fund Managers to talk in more detail please go to 'Funds Available' to find the Fund Managers operating in your area

Signpost microfinance icon


£25k – £100k

Microfinance page
Learn More
Debt finance icon of a road map

Debt Finance

£100k – £750k

Debt Finance page
Learn More
equity finance icon

Equity Finance

£50k – £2m

Equity Finance page
Learn More

For the latest news and views join our mailing list

Join our mailing list

Just add your details below to receive the latest Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund news and information