THE Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has directly invested over £300m into 952 businesses across the North of England, alongside an additional £400m of private sector co-investment, taking its total delivery to more than £700m.

Launched in 2017 to address market gaps and regional imbalances in access to finance, the milestone is a result of 1,280 investments into businesses across a range of size, sectors and locations spread widely across the NPIF region.

In total, the Fund has provided £122m in equity finance, £162m in debt finance and £19m in microfinance.

Read more: North East areas missing out on millions after funding cuts

The most active sector for NPIF investments to date has been advanced manufacturing, with support provided to companies working in a dynamic range of sectors, from renewable energy and ecommerce, to technology, media and telecoms and health and life sciences.

Recent success stories in the Fund’s portfolio include Billingham-based Everflow Group, which secured a £750,000 investment in April 2021 from NPIF – FW Capital Finance, which is part of NPIF and managed by FW Capital.

Since completing the deal, funding has helped the business to increase its headcount to more than 100, develop its software system and work towards its goal of £240m in annual revenues. In March 2021, Everflow ranked third in the Financial Times’ annual list of Europe’s top 1,000 growing businesses.

Other investments in the Tees Valley include a £750,000 NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance investment into Materials Processing Institute (MPI), the not-for-profit research centre based in Middlesbrough; a £250,000 investment into Bubo.AI, a Middlesbrough-based company with a unique software pricing tool by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance; And a £250,000 boost to SockMonkey Studios from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, that has enabled the games developer to more than double its headcount.

The news comes after the Chancellor announced the next generation of NPIF in the latest Spending Review. £660m in government funding has been allocated to the British Business Bank for the launch of the next phase of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is an important source of funding for hundreds of businesses across the North of England.

"Through improved access to finance, these investee businesses have been able to realise their growth plans, create jobs and achieve their full potential.

"We have built an incredible network of partners and stakeholders across the region which will underpin the launch of our next generation Investment Fund, which we view as a vital step in delivering a stronger north.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, NP11 group of Northern LEPs and NPIF Strategic Oversight Board, said: “There have been countless success stories in the NPIF portfolio to date, with organisations of all sizes and sectors enlisting the support of fund managers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other regional stakeholders.

“The first NPIF has been a resounding success and hugely important tool to many of the exciting businesses we have here. With the recent announcement of the NPIF’s successor, which will also include the North East LEP area, this will inevitably help us build an environment where businesses continue to thrive.”

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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