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Back to News Inland Sea

26th July 2022

Q&A with Inland Sea


Northern Powerhouse Investment FundCheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise PartnershipNPIF - BFS & MSIF Microfinance

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was set up to make a real and measurable difference to businesses across the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley. It has since led to the creation of thousands of new jobs, fuelled growth plans, and helped to create a more prosperous regional economy.

As part of NPIF’s 5th anniversary, we spoke to eight businesses that have secured investment to learn more about their investment experience.

Cheshire-based Inland Sea secured a £27,000 investment from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, which is managed by MSIF in partnership with GC Business Finance as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in June 2022. Since then, the business has increased its production capacity for its eco-friendly clothing significantly.

We spoke to Adam Costello, Founder of Inland Sea, to ask about the impact of investment from GC Business Finance and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – here’s what he had to say:

Why did you seek out NPIF investment? 

“We tried many routes to securing finance, but found it difficult to acquire funding from the mainstream lenders. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was then recommended to me by my business advisor, and we have worked together since. It was very encouraging that NPIF were so willing to help us achieve our sustainable goals.’’

Why was microfinance the right finance option for your business?

“We spoke through our plans in detail with the NPIF team and established that the size of the loan suited our business goals. We were not looking for a massive capital investment, simply enough to help us plug that initial gap for growth and help kickstart production on a greater scale.”

What difference has NPIF funding made to your business?

“Without NPIF funding, we may not have been able to progress our idea to produce t-shirts using seacell, a yarn made of 100% biodegradable materials and seaweed. We would’ve had to rely fully on potential sales and profit. As a direct result of securing microfinance investment, we have proliferated our production line, as we look towards creating 2000 more environmentally conscious t-shirts.”

What new opportunities has NPIF provided you? 

“Back in 2020 I trialled manufacturing 700 shirts in Lithuania. With prices and lead times increasing due to Brexit, we’ve used NPIF microfinance investment to start importing seacell from Germany into a cotton mill in Tameside, to spin the yarn locally. This has opened up various opportunities in the market to supply our unique UK made fabric to other brands, setting an environmentally conscious standard.”

What would you say to other business owners considering NPIF funding?

“NPIF’s fund managers provide extensive support, from running through the initial business plan to see whether your idea is profitable, to establishing which finance option is best for your individual business’ journey. The process is thorough, with experts on hand to support you every step of the way.”

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.

The MSIF group of funds are managed by Alliance Fund Managers Limited which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the course of investment business. Financial Conduct Authority Registration Number is 180891.

BFS Funding Managers Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Small Authorised UK AIFM under firm reference number 608682.

Editors Notes

Find Out More

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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£25k – £100k

Microfinance page
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Debt Finance

£100k – £750k

Debt Finance page
Learn More
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Equity Finance

£50k – £2m

Equity Finance page
Learn More

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