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

17th January 2022

Businesses in Focus: Access to finance and its impact


Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Investment Manager at British Business Bank, looks back at the progress made by some of the businesses that have secured investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

He discusses the importance that access to finance can have for companies in the North of England, and how NPIF can continue to play a central role in building a stronger North in 2022.

With a new year ahead, it is important that the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund  continues to provide investment for growing businesses across the North of England, helping them to progress and reach their full potential. Whilst last year held uncertainty, 2022 is beginning to inspire optimism, as we renew our commitment to assisting companies and helping them to reach the heights of success that access to finance can unlock.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has now made a total of 1,280 investments, with businesses receiving £19m in microfinance, £162m in debt finance, and £122m in equity finance. As we look ahead to even more deal activity in 2022, it is important to highlight the successful strides that investee businesses have made since securing funds, and how their progress has helped to build a stronger North.

ASep Healthcare, the creator of an innovative tourniquet – a medical device used to stop the flow of blood – is an excellent example. Based in Liverpool, the company was formed to provide a solution to an unmet clinical need for single-use tourniquets to reduce the risk of contamination. The company received a £500,000 investment from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance in 2017 and has since gone on to double its turnover to £1m. Not only that, but the business has gone on to develop new medical innovations, through expansion of its specialist product range.

Hull-based mental health and wellbeing company Moodbeam has enjoyed a similarly promising journey. With a mission to help businesses create a culture of happy and included employees, it has developed a wearable device that allows users to log their mood and monitor their emotional wellbeing. Embarking on a rapid growth journey, Moodbeam completed two rounds of NPIF funding in 2019, totalling £450,000. It enabled the company to launch its new real time dashboard in 2020, helping companies to gauge staff morale and productivity throughout a tumultuous year of COVID-19. It was also featured by BBC News.

Whether the aim is to increase the size of the order books or launch a new product or service, access to finance can open a host of new growth opportunities. Utilities firm Everflow Group’s journey since securing NPIF investment is testament to that.

In April 2021, the Billingham-based company secured a £750,000 investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance and was able to increase headcount by 41 per cent by the end of the year. It also reported a 19 per cent uplift in customers from 47,000 to 56,000, it has developed its software system and grown annual turnover from £65m to £78m. As a result, it was ranked #3 in the Financial Times ‘FT1000’ for 2021 – an annual list of Europe’s top 1,000 growing businesses.

The progress of these three Northern businesses highlights the transformational impact that access to finance can have. As we continue our goal in achieving a stronger North, 2022 will be a crucial year as we look to invigorate local economies and equip businesses with the tools to flourish and thrive in the years to come. Our goal is to facilitate similar stories across the NPIF portfolio in the year to come. I would urge any business that may be seeking funding make contact via

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Investment Manager at British Business Bank and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

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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£25k – £100k

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Debt Finance

£100k – £750k

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Equity Finance

£50k – £2m

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