Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, has emphasised the importance of supporting the North’s smaller business to help bring about inclusive and sustainable growth that reduces the imbalances in the UK economy.
The British Business Bank operates the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, (NPIF) which provides financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m to SMEs.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund area covers the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP areas.
Grant Peggie said: “As Director for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, my role is to support growing businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, on behalf of British Business Bank. Since 2017, we’ve worked alongside ten Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Government, and businesses to deliver the £400m investment vehicle that is creating jobs, supporting innovation and helping to increase productivity across the North.”
“As someone who has lived in the North for almost 30 years, I am particularly proud of the way that the region has collaborated to develop a shared vision and strategy for supporting small growing businesses – and NPIF is working hard to deliver part of this strategy. In my job, I travel frequently around the Northern Powerhouse region and am inspired by the great cities, towns, rural and coastal areas of the North, but more importantly by the enthusiasm and passion of the businesses that I meet.”
“At first, it did appear that the Northern Powerhouse was a ‘soundbite’ looking for some substance, but gradually a number of key policies have developed which have brought the phrase and indeed the region, to life.”
“While the focus for the area was originally on transport, and that is still an important part of the agenda, it has now broadened out to include wider infrastructure issues such as digital and connectivity as well as people and skills and the key role of business in growing the economy.”
“One of the key lessons I have learnt about the Northern Powerhouse agenda is that we achieve much better outcomes when we work together and develop our own collaborative solutions rather than having national solutions imposed upon us.”
“One of the things that I am most proud about regarding NPIF is the genuine collaboration that has taken involving the major cities and towns of the North. Although there is a friendly rivalry, people are able to see the bigger picture and work together to realise that we have more in common than we have differences (excluding football of course).”
“British Business Bank recently participated in Countryfile Live at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire; this confirmed that one area we do need to collaborate more on is making sure that we support the small growing businesses in our rural communities as well as our great cities and towns.”
“We have already demonstrated that the government and our partners are fully supportive of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund which has ‘energised’ over 450 businesses so far in just over two years and with a further £290m to invest over the next three years,”
“We continue to see quality demand from growing businesses and our fund managers continue to provide investment and support to the Northern Powerhouse economy. “Whilst it is understandable that HS2 and HS3 dominate the Northern Powerhouse agenda, I would like the focus to be on inclusive and sustainable growth that reduces the regional imbalances across the North, as well with London and the South East.”
“The appointment of metro mayors is having a positive impact on the wider Northern Powerhouse agenda, with the government engaging with the five metro mayors to agree decentralisation deals and more flexible funding focussed on outcomes. However, this must not be detriment to those parts of the North which have, for legitimate reasons, chosen not to elect metro mayors or to the rural and coastal communities where it may not be appropriate. The government must continue to engage with all of these wider communities to support inclusive growth.”
“NPIF has already invested over £130m in small growing businesses across the North and generated an additional £100m of private sector capital alongside our investment. An initial evaluation of NPIF is showing that we have helped businesses invest in innovation, recruit and upskill workforce, export into new markets, and ultimately grow, with over 60 per cent of investee companies reporting an improvement in turnover since receiving funding.
“However, we recognise there is more to be done and we are keen to support more growing businesses across the Northern Powerhouse with access to funding.”
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.