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Richard Bell

SMEs secure first slice of £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The government’s £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has announced its first investments.

Following its launch earlier this year, the NPIF has allocated over £240k to four SMEs across the North West and Yorkshire.

NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Debt Finance provided a £100k loan to Blake UK, a Sheffield-based manufacturer, importer and supplier of TV/AV reception and distribution products.

The six-figure boost will enable the company to launch new product lines and increase stock levels.

Business Finance Solutions, meanwhile, ploughed £100k into Warrington-based mobile CCTV solutions provider Red Security Solutions Limited, which will allow RSS to invest in a range of new hybrid and solar powered security solutions.

Yorkshire’s NPIF – Business Enterprise Fund & Finance For Enterprise Microfinance provided £40k to Vulcan Passive Fire Systems.

From its base in Leeds, the firm produces a range of fire protection products and systems. The NPIF cash is part of a package that has allowed Vulcan to create four jobs and invest in vehicles and new equipment.

Lastly, NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance supported Birkenhead manufacturer AEV Limited with an undisclosed amount to support the business’ continuing growth strategy, particularly outside the European Union in emerging markets.

AEV Limited manufactures resins, varnishes, compounds and insulating products for the electrical and electronic sectors.

The NPIF operates from the British Business Bank’s HQ in Sheffield, providing capital to fund managers who will offer Microfinance (ranging from £25k to £100k), Business Finance (from £100k to £750k) and Equity Finance (as much as £2m).

The Fund works with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships, as well as combined authorities, Growth Hubs, local accountants, fund managers and banks.

Andrew Percy MP, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: “Our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse are delivering real results for local people.

“More than one million businesses are already involved and foreign direct investments are up by a quarter.”

He continued: “This dedicated £400m fund will help us go even further. As part of our Plan for Britain to create a stronger economy, it will help smaller businesses across the region.

“These first investments show how this fund is already making a great impact. It’s delivering the resources local businesses need to reach their potential.”

British Business Bank chief exec Keith Morgan commented: “While there is work ahead to fully unlock the potential of businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, the announcement of these first investments shows significant momentum and is cause for great optimism.

“We are confident that we can build on this strong start to provide funding across the range of geographies and sectors, making a real difference to the Northern Powerhouse region.”

The managing director of Blake UK, Paul Blake, said: “The support on offer from NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Debt Finance was quick, straightforward, and provides a solid platform from which we can expand and achieve our growth ambitions for the future.

“These funds will allow us to increase our product range and bolster stock to meet strong customer demand for our products, and we are delighted that with the support from Enterprise Ventures we can take our business to the next level.”

The NPIF project has financial backing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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