Lancashire: making an impact in the Northern Powerhouse

Grant Peggie

Grant Peggie, director at British Business Bank

People often associate the Northern Powerhouse with the big cities of Liverpool, Leeds Manchester and Sheffield. However, Lancashire is a crucial and key element of the Northern Powerhouse.

The business economy in the county is thriving and there is an exceptional amount of talent, with Lancashire universities boasting the highest number of graduates in STEM subjects in the North.

The £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) was set up in 2017 by the British Business Bank to encourage economic prosperity in the North of England, and Lancashire is a vital part of that story.

So far, NPIF has invested some £10.5m in 44 Lancashire-based businesses and an additional £14.4m funding has been secured from the private sector. Investment in the information and communication sector is leading the way for the county with £2.13m invested since the launch of NPIF, closely followed by the manufacturing sector at £1.95m and professional, scientific and technical activities at £1.57m.

The wider impact of NPIF is impressive, with over 80 per cent of businesses in the county going on to achieve growth and many investing in R&D as well as innovation within their organisations.

To showcase the impact of the Lancashire investments made to date and help to raise awareness with entrepreneurs on the different funding options available, we recently held our ‘Unlocking Lancashire’s Potential’ event – the first in a three-part seminar series at different locations across the North.

Delegates at the event heard from Martin Leeming, chief executive of West Lancashire-based Trak-rap, who secured £1.27m of NPIF funding in 2019. The designer and manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions has helped support the growth of the company’s sales and marketing function and put it on track to create up to 67 new jobs over the next five years

As encouraging as these figures are, there is still more to be done to ensure that more Lancashire businesses access the opportunities that NPIF presents. Lancashire Chamber of Commerce reported 11,291 new business registered in 2018, a 6.1 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

New and growing companies are rising, so we need to support these businesses to access funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to help them scale-up through expansion into new markets and investment in staff and infrastructure.

NPIF is designed to improve diversity of funding options available, meaning that smaller businesses in Lancashire will have more choice when considering their finance options. NPIF supports three types of funding – microfinance (£25K – £100K), debt finance (£100K – £750K) and equity finance (£50K – £2m).

As NPIF’s three-year anniversary approaches, there is clear evidence that it has had an impact in supporting growing businesses across the North, but that there is still more to be done.

We need to see business leaders across Lancashire in the public and private sector collaborating even more to make sure that growing businesses have the investment available to accelerate growth, bring new products and services to market and offer new skilled employment opportunities.

For more information on NPIF, please visit our website:

To register for the NPIF Humberside breakfast event on 11th February, click here.

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.