Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund tops £1bn

Ken Cooper

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) said it has surpassed a “significant milestone” facilitating the investment of more than £1 billion for businesses in the North of England — through £405 million of direct investment and £613 million private sector co-investment.

Launched in 2017 by the British Business Bank, NPIF provides “commercially focused finance” through its microfinance, debt and equity finance funds which offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2 million.

To date, NPIF has supported 1,188 companies through 1,636 investments and has also helped create over 7,900 jobs across the region.

NPIF 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.

Recent success stories include MyPura, a husband-and-wife founded eco-friendly nappy company that recently expanded internationally into the US.

Founded in 2019, the Cheshire-based company secured a £4.25 million funding round in February 2022.

Used to expand its B2B sales and drive international growth, the transaction included £4 million of funding split evenly across the Maven VCTs, NPIF – Maven Equity Finance which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and Maven Investor Partners.

In June 2023, MyPura announced it secured a deal with Walmart to supply its products to American consumers.

In June 2021 Middlesbrough-based Press On Vinyl, the UK’s largest manufacturer of vinyl records in terms of output, received a £350,000 loan from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance.

This was followed by a second loan of £150,000 in July 2022 to support further growth.

In Wetherby, West Yorkshire, IT recycling firm Zixtel secured a £150,000 loan from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance in April 2023, to expand its recycling facilitates and safeguard jobs.

NPIF has successfully exited 29 investments from its equity funds.

In April 2022, NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance achieved a return from the sale of its investment into Azzure IT, an award-winning Sheffield IT services provider which was acquired by Content+Cloud, the UK arm of Nordic IT services group Advania.

The sale helped it further build upon its UK presence and its Europe-wide Microsoft Dynamics team.

Elsewhere, NPIF – Maven Equity Finance invested £750,000 into Manchester-based inTEC, a cloud-based provider of end-to-end technology solutions, across two tranches in 2018 and 2019.

inTEC used the development capital to build a group infrastructure and support a recruitment drive that created over 40 new jobs.

The £1 billion milestone follows the recent news that the British Business Bank will be launching a second Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF II), a £660 million investment fund to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses across the North of England in early 2024.

The current NPIF fund will continue to invest until the end of the year.

NPIF II is one of a series of new Nations and Regions Investment Funds being launched by the British Business Bank which will deliver a £1.6 billion commitment of new funding.

British Business Bank MD Ken Cooper said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has enabled over a thousand small businesses in both traditional and new industry sectors to benefit from access to finance.

“The Fund has made an incredible impact, not only through its own investment, but in its ability to attract extra private sector co-investment, boosting regional business and creating new opportunities for local people.

“We are seeing a growing catalogue of success stories, with businesses we invested in several years ago now realising their full potential and further increasing the financial and economic impact of NPIF funding.”