Exciting times ahead for North West Fund
by Cliff Maylor, CEO of North West Business Finance, managers of The North West Fund
THE North West Fund has come a long way since it launched in 2010, and now boasts a portfolio of 430-plus businesses that have used investment to establish and grow their business.
At the end of 2015 we had invested £148m into more than 430 businesses in the region, creating and safeguarding upwards of 3,500 jobs and leveraged a further £120m in private sector finance through our investments.
We have invested in a wide variety of business to business SMEs in various sectors including manufacturing, technology, biomedical, environmental and energy and digital and creative and are pleased to see so many of the investee companies doing well and continuing to grow since they received investment from the fund.
It is an exciting time for the North West. Over the last year there has been a heavy focus on the Northern Powerhouse and in his autumn statement the Chancellor announced a £400m Northern Powerhouse Fund is set to be launched later this year to continue the work of The North West Fund and help businesses to grow.
It will be interesting to see the development of links between Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool as businesses will find it easier than ever before to expand their horizons and organically roll out their brands to a range of locations.
During the China state visit last year it was announced there would now be a direct flight from Manchester to China, the first outside of London.
There was also talk of a China cluster offering Chinese businesses arriving in the region a wide range of office premises to use; this is great news for the North West as Liverpool already has good links with China after the Shanghai Expo in 2010 and it proves the North West is playing a leading part in the golden era of economic cooperation between the UK and China.
The focus for North West Business Finance this year is to invest the remaining £5m of capital into Merseyside whilst looking at other funding options available to provide continued support to our investee companies as we manage out our portfolio.