Vimeo logo LinkedIn logo


npif stripes
Back to News Two ladies sitting one side of table and one man opposite side of table in large open plan office

23rd April 2020

Consensus Workspace leads the way in securing CBILS and NPIF funding


Greater Manchester LEPNorthern Powerhouse Investment FundNPIF - BFS & MSIF Microfinance

Specialist social impact lender, GC Business Finance, has provided one of the first Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loans in the North West to Consensus Workspace, with approval taking only 24 hours from full application.

GC Business Finance (GCBF), which is currently one of only 40+ accredited lenders of emergency government funding across the UK, supported Consensus Workspace with a £100,000 CBILS-backed loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Founded in September 2019, Altrincham-based Consensus Workspace designs and fits out commercial interiors across the country. The business saw strong growth and profitability prior to the Coronavirus outbreak but like many, suffered immediate cash disruption.

Having been unable to secure lending from a bank, Consensus Workspace enquired through GCBF, which was able to support the business with quick approval from its specialist team and release of the funds followed shortly after. The funding has enabled Concensus Workplace to withstand Covid-19 interruption, continue its growth plans and protect jobs.

GCBF is committed to supporting North West-based SMEs, providing CBILS loans to those that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus. This scheme builds upon GCBF’s existing range of loans across the alternative finance market, providing Microfinance from the Northern Powerhouse Investement Fund, as well as Start Up Loans on behalf of British Business Bank. GCBF is positioned to lend to businesses that otherwise couldn’t access funding from mainstream lenders in a fast and responsible approach to lending.

CBILS provides facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. Delivered by the British Business Bank, through 40+ accredited lenders and partners, CBILS will support the continued provision of finance to UK smaller businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Andrew Plastow, Director at Consensus Workspace, said: “In normal circumstances, we operate a profitable business and are set to return to doing so once the current pandemic subsides, but the implications on our cashflow were clearly concerning. We approached GC Business Finance having struggled to confirm short term funding with our own business bank. I was amazed at the speed of the response, communication and decision making, which came within 24 hours of us returning all the information required.

“GC Business Finance have really delivered on the promises from the Government to help us as a successful but disrupted small business in Greater Manchester. The loan is critical to protecting our future growth and ensuring we will be able to immediately mobilise as soon as restrictions are lifted.”

Andy Nichols, Senior Loan Manager at GC Business Finance said: “Consensus Workspace is a well-run and profitable business with real potential which has, like so many others, been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We are proud to provide this funding for the business under NPIF and the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme, which will put it in good stead for when we return to business as usual. GC Business Finance is committed to helping businesses survive the sudden changes the coronavirus brings and prepare them to drive forward and grow as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “It is good to see the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund working alongside CBILS to support companies in these challenging times.   We are pleased  by the response of our NPIF fund managers during the Covid-19 outbreak, they are coming together to adapt and respond to the needs of businesses under extraordinary circumstances.”

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.

The MSIF group of funds are managed by Alliance Fund Managers Limited which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the course of investment business. Financial Conduct Authority Registration Number is 180891.

BFS Funding Managers Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Small Authorised UK AIFM under firm reference number 608682.

Editors Notes



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