The £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has announced the first investments following its launch in February, with more than £240,000 going to SMEs.

The transactions, which are spread across the Northern Powerhouse region, included companies in Sheffield, Greater Manchester, Leeds, and Birkenhead.

Operating from the British Business Bank’s Sheffield head office, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides capital to fund managers who will offer Microfinance (£25,000 – £100,000), Business Finance (£100,000 – £750,000) and Equity Finance (up to £2m). NPIF works alongside 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), bringing together unprecedented partnerships with LEPs on both sides of the Pennines.

NPIF also works with combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as with local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mixture of debt and equity capital to Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “Our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse are delivering real results for local people. More than one million businesses are already involved and foreign direct investments are up by a quarter.

“This dedicated £400m fund will help us go even further. As part of our Plan for Britain to create a stronger economy, it will help smaller businesses across the region.

“These first investments show how this fund is already making a great impact. It’s delivering the resources local businesses need to reach their potential.”

Keith Morgan, CEO at British Business Bank, said: “While there is work ahead to fully unlock the potential of businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, the announcement of these first investments shows significant momentum and is cause for great optimism. We are confident that we can build on this strong start to provide funding across the range of geographies and sectors, making a real difference to the Northern Powerhouse region.”

Paul Blake, Managing Director at Blake UK, said: “The support on offer from NPIF -Enterprise Ventures Debt Finance was quick, straightforward, and provides a solid platform from which we can expand and achieve our growth ambitions for the future. These funds will allow us to increase our product range and bolster stock to meet strong customer demand for our products, and we are delighted that with the support from Enterprise Ventures we can take our business to the next level.”

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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