Strong interest for NPIF II as info roadshows criss-cross the region

Manchester roadshow

More than 1,250 businesses have expressed their interest in accessing the new £660m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II (NPIF II).

This includes expressions of interest from more than 490 businesses across the North West.

Unveiled by the British Business Bank in March this year, the fund aims to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for small businesses looking to start up and scale up across the region.

Delivered by Praetura Ventures, FW Capital, River Capital, and GC Business Finance, the fund will operate across Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region

Since its official launch, intermediaries and potential investees recently attended a series of regional roadshow events across the North. Attendees gathered in Manchester, the second event of the series, to learn further information about the fund, including how to apply and an explanation of finance options available in the region.

North West fund managers, River Capital and GC Business Finance, will provide businesses with smaller loans from £25,000 to £100,000. FW Capital will provide debt finance options from £100,000 to £2m, and Praetura Ventures will manage equity deals up to £5m.

The British Business Bank, along with all fund managers, will continue to host roadshow events in Liverpool, Tees Valley, Lancashire and Hull until July, with further dates soon to be announced for Northumberland, Chester, York, Middlesborough and Cumbria.

Attendees at the Manchester roadshow shared their thoughts on how NPIF II will make an impact.

Sue Barnard, senior investment manager at British Business Bank, said: “The Manchester roadshow was the second of our series across the North, and it was promising to see such a packed room with the business community coming together to learn more about the offering NPIF II provides for the region.

“The enthusiasm and buzz at the event are testament to the appetite for growth opportunities across the North West, particularly beyond the big cities. We’re excited to see how NPIF II helps bring access to finance in the coming months, helping exciting entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses.”

Dr Cormac Neeson, innovation director at The Growth Company and delivery partner manager for Innovate UK Business Growth, said: “The launch of NPIF II marks a new chapter for the business ecosystem in the North.

“By supporting businesses across the North West, NPIF II has the potential to not only spur innovation but grow our strong, thriving business ecosystem. By providing a comprehensive range of funding and support for innovative businesses in the North, we can look forward to a vibrant regional economy, fuelled by access to funding opportunities for all.”

Stuart Thompson, director at RedCAT Ventures, said: “This fund is key for us to help people with great ideas truly start up and scale up their businesses. I was impressed with how the NPIF II fund managers approached the new fund and their commitment to plugging the gaps where investment doesn’t go – beyond the big cities and into places that are traditionally difficult to reach.

“With NPIF II’s renewed focus on supporting the UK economy’s transition to net zero by embedding ESG awareness into its design, NPIF II not only catalyses the growth of sustainable businesses but also contributes to building resilient and responsible economies.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II is part of a series of six new Nations and Regions Investment Funds being launched by the British Business Bank across the UK, the government-owned business development bank.

A total of £1.6bn has been committed to the new funds to drive sustainable economic growth, which was first announced by the Government in the 2021 Spending Review.

NPIF II is managed by a team of eight fund managers that have been appointed by the British Business Bank including Mercia, FW Capital, Praetura Ventures, Maven Capital Partners, NEL Fund Managers, GC Business Finance & River Capital, Business Enterprise Fund (BEF).