Business leaders from across Leeds have welcomed the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) as a new source of regional economic development funding to boost the local economy.
Over 200 delegates gathered at an event at the Royal Armouries on 10th March to hear about the new funding opportunities available and how these can be accessed.
NPIF has been set up by the British Business Bank in conjunction with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and nine other LEPs across the North West, Humber and Tees Valley. Financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the UK Government, NPIF aims to provide small and medium businesses with increased flexibility in the types of funding available. The Fund was officially launched on 22nd February at an event in Manchester by Andrew Percy, Northern Powerhouse Minster.
NPIF provides funding to fund managers who offer Microfinance (£25,000 - £100,000), Business Loans (£100,000 - £750,000) and Equity Finance (up to £2m) to boost investment levels in the North of England. It will work alongside the LEPs and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mix of debt and equity capital to SMEs at all stages in their development.
Speakers at the event included British Business Bank CEO Keith Morgan, Roger Marsh, Chair of Leeds City Region LEP and representatives from Business Enterprise Finance and Enterprise Ventures, the fund managers responsible for the local area.
Keith Morgan, CEO at the British Business Bank, said: “This Fund is a result of a unique and important partnership between the British Business Bank and the 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the northern powerhouse regions. Following a successful launch in Manchester, we are incredibly excited about the opportunity this fund represents for those small and medium sized businesses in Leeds that with the right support, could transform the Northern economy. It is important that we now collaborate with our partners to put this money to work and get in front of those businesses that have a real appetite for growth.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chair of the NPIF Strategic Oversight Board said: “The Leeds City Region economy, worth almost £65 billion and the largest city region outside London and the South East, is home to 122,000 businesses and a burgeoning start-up community with enormous untapped potential.
"This additional investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will enrich the existing business support that is already paying dividends across the City Region with increased growth and high quality jobs. The new fund offers City Region SMEs a greater degree of flexibility in the funding available as well as providing a much-needed boost to investment for our start-ups and microbusinesses.
"Leeds City Region boasts a diverse, dynamic and thriving economy which brings huge economic benefits to the North and the UK’s competitiveness. This investment will help us to continue on our growth trajectory by boosting innovation, growth and job creation and by ensuring the national and international profile of Leeds City Region and the Northern Powerhouse is bolstered."
The project is supported financially by the European Union. Attracting investment 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.
For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please click here