£400m for small firms from bank

The Sheffield-based British Business Bank has launched a £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, aimed at boosting the North of England’s economy and helping the region’s businesses realise their growth potential.

The new fund aims to provide smaller businesses with a greater choice of funding to produce greater investment across the North.

The British Business Bank’s recent ‘Spotlight’ publication stated the region contributes £350billion per year in GDP – close to one-fifth of the UK economy.

Based in Sheffield, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will work with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships, combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide debt and equity capital.

Keith Morgan, CEO at British Business Bank, said: “The North has more high-growth businesses than London. It has enormous untapped economic potential that can be realised by improved funding options and opportunities.”

Andrew Percy, Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: “Our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse are delivering real results for local people, with over one million businesses involved, foreign direct investment up by a quarter and 187,000 jobs created in the past year alone.

“This £400m will help us go even further, supporting smaller businesses to reach their potential.”

Announced in November 2015, the fund combines money from 10 LEPs by the European Regional Development Fund, a loan from the European Investment Bank funding from Government and an additional loan from British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.