The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), delivered by British Business Bank, has invested a total of £20m in ambitious, high-growth SMEs in the Leeds City Region.
Since its launch in February 2017, NPIF has delivered equity finance, debt finance, and microfinance solutions, ranging in size from £25,000 to £2m to businesses across the 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) that make up the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region.
To date, NPIF has completed 104 investments in Leeds City Region-based SMEs across a range of sectors including ICT and manufacturing, which received £5.50m and £5.17m respectively.
Notable investments include Bababing, a manufacturer of childcare products such as changing bags, high chairs and strollers. Bababing was established in 2005 by three brothers in a spare bedroom, and it now works with national retailers including John Lewis. NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund backed the company with a £125,000 investment, which will be used to support the development of a new pushchair range and hire additional staff.
NPIF also invested in Huddersfield based Adventoris, whose innovative software platform SwiftCloud allows businesses to receive sales orders directly from their B2B customers via a mobile app. The company secured a £500,000 investment from NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance, Angel CoFund and private investors in 2017 and has since grown its turnover by 500% and established SwiftCloud as the leading app of its type in the UK.
Roger Marsh, chairman of Leeds City Region and NPIF SOB, said: “SMEs are the driving force behind the Leeds City Region economy and it’s fantastic that NPIF has invested more than £20m into our most ambitious and exciting firms.
“This investment will help to accelerate the growth of SMEs across our region and will help to ensure this is the best place in the UK to start, develop and grow a business.
“Support of this kind is vital to help achieve the LEP’s ambitions of helping businesses grow, attracting new investment to our region and developing the skills, energy and digital infrastructure to create jobs and prosperity.”
Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s performance in the Leeds City Region shows that there are great businesses here looking to grow with the right kind of finance. The NPIF funds provide additional options for businesses that might not be right for traditional bank lending and a growing number of companies are taking advantage of that to boost their growth.
“Whilst we’ve made great progress, there is still work to be done if we are to reduce the disparities between the North and the South. To that end, we will continue to support increased levels of investment to back ambitious SMEs that will boost economic prosperity in the North of England.”
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.