Record funding to help firms overcome impact of pandemic
Funding requests from Greater Manchester companies have increased over the past year and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) responded with a record £15m invested in organisations across the region between April 2020 and January 2021.
In total, NPIF has now invested more than £60m into 175 Greater Manchester-based businesses, this includes £31m of equity finance, and £30m of Microfinance and Debt finance.
These investments have attracted an additional £67m from the private sector.
Wythenshawe-based software platform FISSARA is one business that sought to support its customers in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NPIF-Maven Equity Finance led a £250,000 funding round for the business, which included £125,000 from the Government’s Future Fund.
This enabled the organisation to capitalise on new market opportunities created by the increasing importance of digital transformation projects, providing a software platform that helps organisations to manage their mobile workforce to more UK businesses.
Investment has also been used by businesses in the region to expand and increase staff numbers. One example is Oldham-based Linco Automotive, which received a £100,000 loan through NPIF-FW Capital Debt Finance to recruit staff, secure premises and for growth capital.
Over the past year, NPIF has also been able to play a key role in providing loans backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to businesses impacted by the pandemic.
This includes Rockstar Spirits, a Worsley-based premium rum brand, which received an NPIF loan backed by CBILS following the enforced closure of bars and pubs during lockdown as it shifted to a consumer-focused retail strategy.
Following a five-figure investment from NPIF-BFS & MSIF Microfinance, managed by GC Business Finance & MSIF, the business strengthened its digital marketing presence and secured a new contract to list its range of products with Morrisons.
Lou Cordwell, chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said: “Greater Manchester’s SMEs have shown remarkable strength and adaptability throughout the pandemic. Businesses have had to access funding for a variety of reasons, and the support of a responsive, local partner has been crucial.
“NPIF’s continued investment underlines the strength of Greater Manchester’s long-term economic prospects.
“We will look to SMEs to play a vital role in our city region’s economic recovery, and so any business in need of support should contact the NPIF or the Business Growth Hub to explore its options.”
Sean Hutchinson, at British Business Bank, said: “Over the last year we’ve been inspired by the innovation, resilience and creativity shown by SMEs across the North. In Greater Manchester alone, we’ve seen many examples of businesses that have responded flexibly to the national lockdown and challenges arising from the pandemic.
“NPIF remains open for business in 2021 and beyond, and we encourage any business thinking of applying for funding to get in touch with our team.”
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.