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Yorkshire lenders become gateway to £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

A partnership between two not-for-profit business lenders has been selected to fund manage part of the largest ever investment fund for businesses to boost economic growth and productivity in the Northern Powerhouse.

The £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will be used to kickstart growth and support entrepreneurialism.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) group has been selected as joint fund managers for the NPIF Microfinance (£25k – £100k) across Yorkshire and the Tees Valley, with offices in York, Leeds, Bradford, Darlington and Goole. The other joint-fund manager is Doncaster based Finance For Enterprise (FFE), which will be responsible for delivering the scheme across the whole region.


Stephen Waud and Simon Jackson of BEF with Arthur Foreman and Andrew Austwick of FFE

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Andrew Percy, commented: “The £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is helping us go even further to support smaller businesses across the region and create an economy that works for everyone.

“To make sure this funding is delivered quickly and effectively, it’s important that local people who know their areas best are able to administer it. These companies have proven history in lending to start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses in the North, so it’s great that they are on board to target businesses who will most benefit.”

In a joint statement, consortium heads Stephen Waud (BEF) and Arthur Foreman (FFE), said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund marks the start of a new era for businesses in the north, and for FFE and the BEF group as lenders. The agreement shows well-deserved confidence in the region and promises support for businesses of all scales and industries.

“We’re seeing a growth across all sectors and demand is up. It’s important that our local business knowledge, with the backing of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, continues to provide the support where it’s required.”

Grant Peggie, Director of Venture Capital Solutions 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.”

The British Business Bank is investing £50m into the fund, while the European Investment Bank will invest £180m. The agreement will be supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure the funds address access-to-finance gaps within the north.

Since its launch BEF has supported 3,000 businesses and created or safeguarded over 2,000 jobs throughout Yorkshire and the north east. In the last 12 months, the organisation has loaned a total of £6.4m.

Finance For Enterprise has been established for more than 30 years and provides loan funding and advice to new start, early stage and established businesses across South Yorkshire, the North Midlands and Lincolnshire. In the last 12 months FFE has lent £7.7m to more than 260 businesses.

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