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Image caption: NPIF Breakfast Seminar, Chester Racecourse. Salesbond Founder Nicole Markham, Cheshire and Warrington LEP Director of Business Innovation Andy Devaney, British Business Bank Director Grant Peggie, Mike Ribbeck from The, My Digital Accounts Chief Executive John Whelan and British Business Bank Senior Manager Sue Barnard.

31st March 2020

NPIF Breakfast Series – Unlocking Cheshire’s potential


Northern Powerhouse Investment FundCheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership

A panel of experts took part in a special discussion focusing on the potential of Cheshire’s business sector.

The event, held on the 11th March at Chester Racecourse was organised by in partnership with The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the British Business Bank.

It was the final of a series of events organised with with previous events held in Lancashire and Humber.

Taking part in the panel discussion were:

Grant Peggie – A Director in the Venture Capital Team at the British Business Bank, Grant has led the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund , the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and the  Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund.

Sue Barnard – Senior Manager in the North West for the British Business Bank.

Nicole Markham –  founder of Sales Bond, an innovative provider of telemarketing and lead generation services to a broad range of national clients. Nicole’s NPIF-backed venture follows an award-winning sales career with major organisations including Rentokil Initial, Capital Radio Group, and Direct Accident Management.

Andy Devaney – Director of Business Innovation at Cheshire and Warrington LEP, which, among other things, gives him responsibility for the Growth and Skills Hub as well as overseeing inward investment.

John Whelan – an accountant turned software geek. After specialising in the complex rules surrounding the taxation of UK temporary workers for two decades, he developed an accounting and payroll system to embrace HMRC’s making tax digital initiative and streamline the way temporary workers manage their affairs. After raising £1.3m in seed funding, My Digital Accounts passed proof of concept stage and then sought £1.3m funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in January 2019 to fund its growth plans.

During the debate Grant Peggie said:  “Cheshire has a very innovative economy with some great companies across the patch.  You have to recognise that there are parts of Cheshire and Warrington that are not doing as well as others. Part of our agenda is to make sure we reach out to all parts of the area to make sure businesses are aware of the funding options that are available to them.

Our first equity exit for NPIF was here in Cheshire, the region is very strong but it is diverse and we need to make sure all parts of Cheshire and Warrington and the businesses get the funding they need.”

John Whelan, My Digital Accounts said: “Without the Northern Powerhouse Investment there is no question that our company would have stagnated, and it would have all been self-funded.

Our increase in revenue is largely down to the investment that we received 13 months ago.”

The £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was established in 2017 with the ambition to transform the funding landscape across the North of England and help create economic prosperity.

To date, NPIF has directly invested more than £152m, in deals that have attracted an additional £152m of investment from the private sector.

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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