The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has hosted the latest in a series of breakfast seminars ahead of the highly anticipated MADE Festival, bringing together aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the North to discuss how NPIF can support growth objectives.
Held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, the panel discussion, headed by Lee Hayes, Regional Sales Director at Close Brothers, comprised of business owners who had received backing from NPIF and finance experts who could offer a view on the opportunities and obstacles around raising SME finance in today’s marketplace.
The main points for discussion were the shortage of funding options available to Northern SMEs, and how the newly-formed £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is tackling this problem and helping businesses in the region reach their full potential.
Ray Boulger, of local business STEPS Rehabilitation, said: “The process of securing an NPIF loan was incredibly smooth and quick. Having discussed our ambitions and where we wanted to take the business with the new funding, it was encouraging to work with people who understood us and wanted the company to achieve its goals.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “This is a huge fund that has the potential to transform a significant number of businesses into market leaders. The appetite for growth in the North is staggering, and it’s our job to seek out these ambitious companies, fund their growth prospects and boost the Northern economy.”
The event concluded with a panel discussion. Rachel Fletcher, from the Access to Finance Centre of Enterprise, went on to discuss the importance of alternative funding options for businesses in the Sheffield City Region.
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.