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Back to News Jo Whitfield and Gary Guest, FW Capital

18th November 2020

FW Capital marks 10 years and half a billion pounds of support for the Northern economy


Northern Powerhouse Investment FundNPIF FW Capital Debt Finance

Since its inception in 2010, FW Capital has helped to boost the economy of the North of England by almost half a billion pounds.

During its ten years of support for SMEs across the North, FW Capital has loaned more than £170m to over 650 businesses, and has leveraged private sector investment of over £300m. These investments have created or safeguarded some 7,500 jobs.

The business was founded with a very small team and has expanded its operations to over thirty investment professionals in six offices across the North.

FW Capital has managed seven funds over the last decade and currently has £207m of funds under management. The largest of these include two Northern Powerhouse Investment Funds – Debt Finance (NPIF), totalling £142.6m across the two Funds to invest and a focus on supporting businesses in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and the Tees Valley.

The support that FW Capital has provided over the decade has enabled businesses to launch new products, expand office space, buy new or ground-breaking equipment, expand their workforce, bid for contracts and develop residential and commercial property.

Most recently, the company has played a key role in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Using CBILS to support the Northern Powerhouse Investment Funds, FW Capital have supported more than 50 businesses with £16m of loans across the North of England.

Focused on its role as a long-term growth partner, many existing customers have received two or more funding rounds since joining the FW Capital portfolio.

Tees Valley-based energy and water services firm Cenergist Ltd is one business that has benefitted from long term support from FW Capital, following an initial investment in 2015.  Most recently,  Cenergist received [£750,000] from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.  The funding allowed the business to launch new revenue streams, scale-up, deliver new contracts, create eight new roles and open a call centre in Billingham.

Manchester-based Darnhall Limited, trading as 24-7 Group, is another of FW Capital’s long-term partners, receiving their first loan in 2012. In 2020 they received their most recent investment of £250, 000 from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Darnhall Limited offers a range of electrical design and installation services for warehousing and cold storage facilities, production facilities, commercial developments, high-rise residential, and retail customers including Tesco.

Since the first investment the business has seen massive growth. Turnover has increased by nearly

1650% and the business has seen its workforce expand from 7 in 2012 to 64 in 2020. The business has also been able to broaden its offering to include mechanical, security (CCTV, alarms) and wrap round maintenance contracts.

John Matthews, Darnhall Limited Director, said: “It is fantastic to see FW Capital reach its milestone 10 year anniversary.  We would not be where we are today without the funding from FW Capital.

“Other types of lender do not tend to provide the certainty of funding that we require, as they can pull their facilities at any time. In an industry like ours where there are peaks and troughs, it’s crucial that we have an investment partner that really understands our business strategy whilst allowing us to retain full control of the business.”

Joanne Whitfield, FW Capital’s Fund Director for Tees Valley, said: “For over ten years, FW Capital has supported businesses, resulting in nearly half a billion pounds of investment in the North of England and helping to create thousands of local jobs.

“It is great to reach this milestone anniversary having made such a positive contribution to building a strong economy for those who live and work in our region.

“We want to see our customers hit their initial growth target and then the one after that, which is why ongoing relationships matter to us. Our determination to be a long-term investment partner is why we see so many SMEs come back time and time again. Here’s to their further success over the next ten years.”

Gary Guest, FW Capital’s Fund Director in the North West, said: “Over the past decade, we have demonstrated our commitment to supporting businesses with solid working partnerships. As our customers have grown, so have we, ensuring a highly personal level of service in a world where many other funders are going the opposite way.  For many of our customers, the impact of our funding is huge. Not only are we creating new jobs, but we are supporting them as they access new growth opportunities.

“It is heartening to have developed such deep relationships with our customers, who see us as trusted partners during their growth journey and we look forward to continuing this for many years to come.”

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “Since 2017 we have worked with FW Capital on the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, ensuring the delivery of vital investment to ambitious businesses across the North. The results of this partnership speak for itself, as it has fueled growth plans, created jobs and made a real impact on regional business communities. We will continue to work closely with FW Capital and our other fund managers to boost the regional economy, and would like to congratulate the team on this anniversary.”

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.

FW Capital Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a small authorised UK Alternative Investment Fund Manager under firm reference number 506719

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