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New funding released by Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to help local SMEs

(ltr) Andrew Austwick, Managing Director, Finance For Enterprise, Steve Waud, CEO of the Business Enterprise Fund and Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank.

Businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber, and Tees Valley are set to benefit from an additional £5m of funding from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (“NPIF”).

Responsible finance providers Finance For Enterprise (“FFE”) & Business Enterprise Fund (“BEF”) were appointed in 2017 to manage NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance and have already invested more than £9.5m into 210 businesses within the region.

This new allocation will increase the fund size from £10m to £15m and enable the two lenders to continue their support to start-ups, early-stage and more established businesses that are looking to grow.

Microfinance loans range between £25,000 and £100,000 and are designed to provide businesses with funding that can be used for a wide range of purposes. This includes filling gaps in working capital, funding expansion projects, investing in new equipment, leasing commercial premises, hiring new staff and more.

Commercial lighting design specialist RKB Electrical is an example of a business that recently secured investment. Based in Skipton, it was awarded a £25,000 loan from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, backed by RLS, and was also provided an additional £80,000 directly from BEF to expand its product offering.

Chris Rickerby, Operations Manager at RKB Electrical explained: “Businesses all over the UK are looking to make their offices healthier to welcome their employees back to a central hub where possible. We have been inundated with queries about how lighting can help make offices brighter, healthier and more sustainable as part of commercial refits. We’re using the funding to deliver a wider range of bespoke lighting products that can deliver on this and looking at developing our own products.”

“The process with Mark Iley at BEF was very straightforward and the funding, delivered in partnership with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, means we are able to respond to demand, enabling businesses all over the UK to re-open with confidence, while growing our own operation.”

Steve Waud, CEO of BEF said: “Adapting is a major part of recovery and growth and RKB – and their customers – exemplify this. We were delighted to support them as they grow and look forward to funding many other small companies across Yorkshire and the Humber, and Tees Valley.”

Andrew Austwick, Managing Director of FFE said: “This additional investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will help more businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber, and Tees Valley to access the vital funds needed to realise their potential. When businesses prosper, the whole of society benefits. NPIF plays a critical role in helping to create and retain skilled jobs within the regional economy, as well as assisting businesses to secure the funds needed to invest, innovate and adapt to a challenging economic climate.”

Grant Peggie at the British Business Bank, said: “Providing Microfinance loans of £25,000 to £100,000 has played an important part in the success of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. They have provided vital capital to small businesses to support their growth particularly as we come out of the Pandemic.. We congratulate Finance For Enterprise and Business Enterprise Fund on securing this additional funding, and look forward to seeing its impact as  it support more small growing businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber, and the Tees Valley.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project (NPIF) 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.

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