Cumbria’s local economy has been boosted by over £7m in debt finance since 2017, thanks to the impact of FW Capital and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
In total, £3.5m of the funds have been deployed directly by NPIF - FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), with a further £3.6M attracted from private sector investors.
SME finance specialist FW Capital, which has an office in Penrith, has supported businesses across a variety of industries, such as food and drink, manufacturing, engineering, logistics, tourism, and hospitality.
Launched in 2017, NPIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships situated across Northern England, including Cumbria LEP. It is designed to support new and growing SMEs, create jobs and encourage and attract additional private sector investment.
FW Capital has recently been accredited by the British Business Bank to deliver the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), and will be used in conjunction with the deployment of loans from NPIF. The RLS supports lenders providing access to finance for UK businesses as they recover and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic and it can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including managing cashflow, investment and growth for businesses affected by Covid 19.
FW Capital investment executive Maria Ramsdale, who oversees the Cumbria region, said: “Historically, businesses in Cumbria have been quite difficult to reach but we are getting the message out there and that is reflected in us delivering funding of £3.5 million since NPIF launched. That said, we want to do more and are working closely with the Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Cumbria LEP to encourage businesses to speak to us.
“Growth can only happen if it is properly financed and the funding we provide also comes with many additional benefits of advice and support through our own experts and large network of contacts.
“The last year has been very difficult for lots of businesses and we are delighted to be able to consider applications for funding with the backing of the RLS. Equally there have been some great success stories many of which have used our finance to fund new opportunities. We’re passionate about supporting the rich and diverse SME community here in Cumbria and will continue to support as many as possible realise their full potential.”.
Suzanne Caldwell, managing director of Cumbia Chamber of Commerce added: “In our role as the Chamber and Cumbria Business Growth Hub we have enjoyed a really close and productive working relationship with Maria and the wider FW Capital team. We know from experience what a tremendous difference NPIF is making to individual businesses on the ground throughout the county, and to the Cumbrian economy.
“I’d encourage anyone looking for business finance to contact them, either directly or through us. They’re extremely helpful and approachable. On top of the money they’ve directly provided I know they’ve enabled even more through the additional funding theirs has unlocked, and through pointing people to other suitable options.”
Corinne Watson, Head of Business and Programmes at the Cumbria LEP said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been a vital source of finance for Cumbrian businesses, supporting growth, innovation and job creation across the county. FW Capital’s investment of £3.5m in local businesses is an important milestone and I would urge businesses who are considering finance options to see how NPIF may be able to help them realise their growth aspirations.”
NPIF Debt Finance managed by FW Capital offers loans of £100,000 to £750,000.
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.