17th May 2021
Sean Hutchinson at the British Business Bank and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, says Q1 2021 has been a promising start to the year for the North, with a renewed sense of optimism amongst the business community as lockdown restrictions ease and brick-and-mortar businesses return to normality.
Throughout a challenging and uncertain 12 months, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), alongside the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Growth Hubs, Combined Authorities and its fund managers, has remained proactive to support businesses of all sizes, sector and situation. Ensuring they have access to the finance required to recover and, in some cases capitalise on new opportunities, is central to the UK’s recovery strategy post-COVID. Between April 2020 and April 2021, NPIF has provided over 370 investments to a value of over £100 million across the North, creating new jobs, safeguarding others and keeping growth plans on track.
To-date, NPIF has deployed £256m, just over half of its £500m allocation, following a £100m boost to the fund in late 2020, and will continue to provide investment through our equity finance, debt finance and microfinance funds.
In the last 12 months, we have seen a number of businesses making full use of these options, including:
1. Debt Finance – Providing business loans from £100,000 up to £750,000, debt finance is an important option for businesses looking to grow, whether that’s funding for hiring staff, purchasing machinery, moving premises or even as working capital to finance a big order.
In many cases over the past year, NPIF’s Debt Finance has been a valuable tool for businesses looking to adapt to new challenges or opportunities created by the pandemic, develop new products and services, or shift business models.
Take Palamatic as an example. Based in Sheffield City Region, the business has seen a surge in orders for its lifting and handling equipment from the pharmaceutical industry, food producers and medical manufacturers that are part of the vaccine supply chain. In April, the business secured a £300,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance and has been able to create two new senior management roles, funding its growth at a key moment of opportunity.
2. Microfinance – Suitable for early-stage and more established businesses, NPIF Microfinance offers loans from £25,000 up to £100,000 and is available for a wide range of purposes, such as filling gaps in growth capital, funding expansion projects, leasing commercial premises, asset acquisitions and bringing product conceptions to market.
In a similar fashion to NPIF’s Debt Finance, these smaller loans have proven decisive for businesses looking to fill gaps in their financial plans.
Following a boost in eCommerce sales during the pandemic, Humber-based Hull Boxes & Packaging secured a £110,000 investment, half of which came from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, to buy new machinery and remedy supply chain problems.
3. Equity Finance – Designed to support innovative and fast-growing businesses of all sizes, NPIF Equity Finance ranges from £50,000 up to £2m. It is primarily aimed towards those looking to grow at a rate that typically cannot be supported through borrowing, which will tend to be linked to the ability to service debt from existing cash flows.
Liverpool ChiroChem is an excellent example of a business that is at the forefront of international chemical technology business whose products form the building blocks to the research and development of new drugs. Following a £1m NPIF – Maven Equity Fund investment, paired with £1m from the Government’s Future Fund, it will continue its rapid scale up and expansion that is creating new high-skilled jobs in the region.
As more restrictions are lifted, more businesses gradually reopen and we continue on the next phase of recovery, it is important to keep in mind what options are out there for you and your business. Making full use of the government schemes you are eligible for and keeping in mind the funding options from NPIF could make all the difference in 2021.
Our fund managers are working hard across all areas of the North to offer guidance of the best course of actions and provide support, investment guidance and the tools for growth. I would urge any business that may be seeking funding make contact via www.NPIF.co.uk.
Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
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.
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
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