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Launch of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II provides £660m boost for small businesses


NPIF II will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity

The British Business Bank has launched its new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II (NPIF II), a £660m fund set to cover the entire North of England. The Fund will continue to be available for businesses operating in Cheshire and Warrington. 


Since the launch of the first Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) in 2017, it has delivered £570m of direct and private co-sector investment into 608 businesses, helping to create nearly 3,500 jobs across the North West. 


Aiming to build on the success of the initial fund, which facilitated over £1 billion of direct and private sector co-investment across the North, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II will enable businesses to access the Fund to start up, scale up or continue on their growth journey. NPIF II will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity for new and growing businesses.   


The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II will increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for Northern smaller businesses, providing funds to firms that might otherwise not receive investment and help to break down barriers in access to finance. 


Three fund managers have been appointed to manage the fund in the North West. GC Business Finance & River Capital will manage the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000 to £100,000), FW Capital will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2 million) and Praetura Ventures will manage equity deals (up to £5 million). 


A business already benefiting from NPIF investment is ChloBo, a Chester-based bohemian jewellery brand. All its pieces are curated and designed in the UK and the business trades both independently online, and through a trusted network of over 200 retail partners. The NPIF investment enabled the business to continue its growth throughout the pandemic, helping to provide job security, in addition to supporting the launch of a new line of fragrance products. 


Dave Rosalski CEO at ChloBo said: “NPIF investment wasn’t just an injection of funding. It’s much more than that. The team took a genuine interest in the business and developed a detailed bank of knowledge which helped them fully understand our needs to support us. It was a combination of advice, support, and guidance from specialists that took ChloBo to the next level.” 


Venn Digital is another Cheshire-based business that benefitted from NPIF investment. A market leader in recruitment and employer brands, the investment it secured last year assisted in growing its team through the creation of 45 new roles over the next three years. This will support the firm’s growth strategy as it expands Vennture, its tech platform for global recruitment agencies. 


Brian Whigham, Chief Executive Officer at Venn Digital said: “Staying agile is the foundation of our industry, and we found this especially true as we navigated through the shift from a digital marketing agency to a tech and service business. The NPIF funding helped catapult us into the next phase of business development, and we really feel the positive impact it has made on our team.” 


Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, said: “The success of the first Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has proven the instrumental change that access to finance can have for small businesses. From creating hundreds of jobs to developing ground-breaking products, we have seen companies that previously lacked funding options accelerate forward in their growth journeys, which has ultimately benefitted the whole of the Northern economy. 


“This is why it was important to continue the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund into its next phase. With further funding available, and a greater geographical reach in the North East, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II will engage more stakeholders across the regions, bringing the business community closer together to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere.” 

Following today’s official launch in Leeds, the British Business Bank will be holding a a roadshow of events for small business finance intermediaries across the region to learn more about the Fund. Destinations include Newcastle (18th April); Manchester (24th April), Sheffield (30th April).

Further dates for roadshow events in Liverpool, Hull, Lancashire, Tees Valley, York, Cheshire, Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland will be announced shortly.

Find out more about the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund