A £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has been launched by the British Business Bank to boost the region’s economy and help firms realise their potential.

Launched at the UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Expo in Manchester, it will provide smaller businesses with an increased choice of funding and producing greater levels of investment.

Based in Sheffield, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will work with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mixture of debt and equity capital to northern-based SMEs.

 NPIF will provide funding to fund managers who will offer Microfinance (£25,000 - £100,000), Business Loans (£100,000 - £750,000) and Equity Finance (up to £2m).

One of the highest-profile women in the North West business community is the latest big-name speaker confirmed for BusinessCloud's Lancashire Powerhouse conference on April 19. You can sign up for the free-to-attend event here.

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Keith Morgan, CEO at British Business Bank, said: “The North of England has a long and proud history of driving global innovation and economic progress.

“The region has more high-growth businesses than London and, at close to one fifth of UK GDP, is larger than the economies of Greece, Denmark, Austria and Belgium.

“The region has enormous untapped economic potential that can be realised by improved funding options and opportunities. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund represents a co-ordinated policy approach to help realise this potential across the North.”

The NPIF combines capital allocated to the 10 LEPs in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the Tees Valley by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and an additional loan from British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

Andrew Percy

Andrew Percy

Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy added: “Our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse are delivering real results for local people, with over one million businesses involved, foreign direct investment up by a quarter and 187,000 jobs created in the past year alone.

“This dedicated £400m will help us go even further, supporting smaller businesses across the region to reach their full potential and helping to create an economy that works for everyone.”

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will unlock the unparalleled innovation, talent and entrepreneurial spirit of the North and build on the world class strengths of the region.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide more than £180m for this exciting new initiative as part of our commitment to support investment by small business across Europe.”