social impact report & annual statement

£50m invested in businesses as NPIF and MEIF focus on net-zero

The British Business Bank’s regional funds have supported 45 businesses contribute to net zero.

The British Business Bank’s regional funds – Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) – have enabled more than £50m of investment including from the private sector into small businesses in the Midlands and North of England to reduce their carbon footprint and develop innovative solutions to tackling the climate emergency and reaching net zero.

Highlighting a commitment to contribute to funding the future of the low carbon and renewable green economy, since launch both the NPIF and MEIF have supported 45 businesses in their mission to drive the UK’s net-zero and wider sustainability agenda forward.

Recognising the power of these businesses in contributing to the regional green economy, NPIF and MEIF are working with fund managers, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, growth hubs and regional stakeholders in the public and private sector to deliver finance from the Funds and private sector investors.

Following the Sixth Carbon Budget published by the Climate Change Committee in December last year, the UK Government has agreed a revised target of reducing national emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, which will be enshrined in law by the end of June 2021. Several Northern and Midlands localities and sub-regions have set more ambitious targets of reaching the targets much sooner.

A 2019 report from NP11, produced by KPMG, predicted that businesses in the North could reduce the region’s carbon emissions from 50 per cent by 2032 against 2005 levels. Cumbria, Lancashire, Tees Valley and the Humber being home to a number of key alternative power sources including nuclear, tidal and wind power infrastructure, it is predicted that low carbon businesses in the region will contribute £2bn GVA to the UK economy by 2050. Meanwhile, green jobs creation across the area is mapped at 100,000 in the same period.

Recent low carbon investments from NPIF have included:

– A £750,000 investment from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance into Lancashire-based manufacturer of innovative connected electrical solutions Extreme Low Energy Ltd (ELe®). The company’s patented DC power infrastructure works on various ultra-low power devices, with the micro-grid systems typically running on 50 – 70 per cent less energy than existing AC alternatives. ELe used the NPIF funding to pioneer a new Eco Off-Grid Leisure Kit to meet the surge in demand for staycations, leading to a 220 per cent jump in revenue in 2020 and increased its headcount by a third.

– Cheshire-based tyre pressuring monitoring systems firm ToughTech received a £100K investment from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, managed by GC Business Finance and MSIF. One of the many benefits of the firm’s technology is that it not only extends tyre life, but also improves fuel efficiency and increases safety with constant monitoring. Since securing the investment, which was used to develop its technology further, the firm has continued to grow rapidly and now has clients based across Europe, Africa, Australia and America.

– Tribosonics, a Sheffield company whose smart sensing technology helps industries to reduce costs and carbon emissions, has raised £1.1m from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance. The firm’s technology can be used in manufacturing, power generation and transport – for example to create smart factories, or in critical parts such as the bolts on wind turbines. The investment from NPIF is being used to expand the team with 11 new hires since September 2020, in addition to further investment into product development.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO at British Business Bank, said: “The low carbon and renewable energy economy is a priority for the Bank’s regional funds as we continue with our efforts to support businesses across the North and Midlands to build back better. The economic benefits are clear, with companies in the space making significant contributions to the UK’s GVA and employment rates.

“From supporting innovation and business growth, to expanding geographically or recruiting new people, NPIF and MEIF are here to support low carbon businesses that are taking the UK one step closer to achieving its goals around net zero.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, NP11 & NPIF Strategic Oversight Board, said:

“The North and Midlands are playing a leading role as the UK tackles climate change. With support from NPIF and MEIF, we can harness the innovation and pioneering spirit that powered the Industrial Revolution and build a net zero carbon economy.

“From developing more efficient ways to use resources, to generating clean energy, to innovations that could transform the way we live and work, our regions’ businesses have enormous potential. The low carbon and renewable sector has the opportunity to create thousands of good jobs and revitalise our economies.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project 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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