NPIF supports Covid-hit SMEs with £100m in funding


We share relevant third party stories on our website. This release was written and issued by The British Business Bank 

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has invested over £100m into more than 270 Northern businesses across nearly 400 transactions since the beginning of the April 2020.

£60m has been provided through NPIF – Debt finance, benefiting some 163 companies, while 92 firms have accessed £7m of NPIF – Microfinance across the North.

The NPIF Debt and Microfinance funds have been able to offer Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) backed loans.

Meanwhile, NPIF Equity investments totalled over £35m, a number of which were invested alongside the Government’s Future Fund. Alongside these impressive figures nearly £150m of additional funding was co-invested from the private sector.

This investment has been crucial in supporting businesses to continue both operating and adapting by launching new products or services over the last year. This trend is particularly strong in the digital sector, with 16 per cent of the total number of investments made since the UK’s first lockdown benefitting information and communication businesses. In addition, 21 per cent of investments were made into advanced manufacturing businesses, and 14 per cent were made in the health and life science sectors.

Businesses that have benefitted from funding over the last year include Tees Valley-based Acculabs Diagnostics, a private pathology organisation that secured £500,000 over two rounds of NPIF funding backed by CBILS from NPIF – FW Capital. This investment has funded more crucial equipment for the organisation, as well as additional working capital.

One North West-based organisation that has been supported is Liverpool Chirochem, an international chemical technology business which provides products that are used for the research and development of new drugs. NPIF – Maven Equity Finance led a £2 million funding round for the business earlier in 2021, supporting the company in establishing its UK and China operations and growing its initial team to 12 employees.

Red Star 3D, a Sheffield-based animation studio, is another company that has benefitted from NPIF investment. The business is expanding its operations following a £100,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which will enable Red Star 3D to grow its team and produce more work for film companies worldwide.

As part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Chancellor announced an additional £100m allocation for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, bringing the total for investment for Northern businesses to over £500m.

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL said: ““I have seen first-hand the difference the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has made to the region’s economic development since it was established.

“With additional funds from the private sector, the NPIF has made almost a quarter of a billion pounds available to our region’s businesses since March last year.

“Over half of the NPIF’s investments since the start of the pandemic have been made into high growth sectors like digital, advanced manufacturing and health and life science.

“Backing innovative businesses like these to help create good, sustainable new jobs has the potential for the North to take a leading role in the recovery and as the UK builds new trading relationships with the rest of the world.”

Grant Peggie at British Business Bank said: “Over the last year, we’ve seen real determination and agility from the small business community across the North. Whether it has been used to simply survive or to adapt and thrive, this pandemic has demonstrated the transformational impact that funding and ongoing support can have on business success.

“We’ve worked closely with Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Growth Hubs, and other key stakeholders across the region to provide this level of investment and business support over the last year and we are proud that this collaborative effort is making a real difference to companies in the region.”

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.