usiness leaders from across Cumbria have welcomed the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) as a new source of regional economic development funding to boost the local economy.
Over 100 delegates gathered at an event at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Penrith headquarters on 14 March to hear about the new funding opportunities available and how these can be accessed.
NPIF has been set up by the British Business Bank in conjunction with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and nine other LEPs across the North West, Yorkshire & Humber and Tees Valley.
Financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the UK Government, NPIF aims to provide small and medium sized businesses with increased flexibility in the types of funding available. The fund was officially launched on 22 February at an event in Manchester by Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy.
NPIF provides funding to fund managers who offer Microfinance (£25,000 – £100,000), Business Loans (£100,000 – £750,000) and Equity Finance (up to £2m) to boost investment levels in the North of England. It will work alongside the LEPs and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mix of debt and equity capital to SMEs at all stages in their development.
Speakers at the Cumbria event included British Business Bank CEO Keith Morgan, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership Vice Chair Jackie Arnold and representatives from FW Capital and Business Finance Solutions, the fund managers responsible for the local area.
Keith Morgan, CEO at the British Business Bank, said: “This Fund is a result of a unique and important partnership between the British Business Bank and the 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the northern powerhouse regions. Following a successful launch in Manchester, we are incredibly excited about the opportunity this fund represents for those small and medium sized businesses in Cumbria that with the right support, could transform the Northern economy. It is important that we now collaborate with our partners to put this money to work and get in front of those businesses that have a real appetite for growth.”
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership Vice Chair Jackie Arnold added: “This was an important, well attended event for local firms and business support professionals from all over the county to come together, hear from the British Business Bank and meet the new fund managers. It allowed the delegates to find out more about the breadth and flexibility of these new equity and micro finance options and how they will work to generate economic growth. Business support is a cornerstone of our Strategic Economic Plan to increase output and create jobs, so we must seek to maximise the opportunities emerging from Northern Powerhouse initiatives such as this.”
The project is supported financially by the European Union, attracting investment 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.
For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please visit www.npif.co.uk