Northern Powerhouse Fund attracts interest from more than 1,250 business

More than 1,250 businesses have expressed an interest in accessing a £660m investment fund that aims to help grow companies across the North.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II (NPIF II) was launched in March with the new fund being open to companies in the North East, in contrast to its predecessor. Companies across the North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber have asked for information about the fund, with roadshows held in places like Newcastle and Manchester.

The British Business Bank fund aims to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for small businesses looking to start up and scale up across the region. It is delivered by Praetura Ventures, FW Capital, River Capital, and GC Business Finance, with loans from £25,000 to £100,000, and debt finance options from £100,000 to £2m. Equity investments of up to £5m are also available.

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Sarah Newbould, senior manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The Newcastle roadshow had an excellent turnout, and it’s promising to see such a vast number of enquiries. This reflects the appetite that people have to grow their business here in the North East, and it’s great that NPIF II is now able to cover the entire region. We’re really excited that the new fund will have a presence across the whole of the North East, bringing much needed capital to support innovative and exciting entrepreneurs in the region.”

Dr. Cormac Neeson, innovation director at The Growth Company and delivery partner manager for Innovate UK Business Growth, said: “The launch of NPIF II marks a new chapter for the business ecosystem in the North. By supporting businesses across the North West, NPIF II has the potential to not only spur innovation but grow our strong, thriving business ecosystem. By providing a comprehensive range of funding and support for innovative businesses in the North, we can look forward to a vibrant regional economy, fuelled by access to funding opportunities for all.”

Rick McCordall, head of company creation at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University, and all of the universities across the North East, have a significant responsibility to contribute to entrepreneurialism here in the region. Working with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and other funders, we can really start to see a difference in terms of the ecosystem. At the university, we’ve created 38 spin outs with close to 350 employees as a result of these, and we want to see that continue to grow – NPIF II will act as a catalyst for achieving that.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II is part of a series of six new Nations and Regions Investment Funds being launched by the Government-owned British Business Bank. The North East LEP area was not included in the first fund, preferring to run its own operation – the North East Fund – to ensure that its European-derived funding benefited this region specifically.

Roadshows to present details about the fund are being planned for Liverpool, Tees Valley, Lancashire and Hull until July, with further dates soon to be announced for Northumberland, Chester, York, Middlesbrough and Cumbria.