British Business Bank launches Spotlight report highlighting the opportunities for high-growth and ambitious businesses in the Northern Powerhouse area

Press release 07 November 2016

Spotlight: The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund report published to coincide with MADE Festival in Sheffield and the British Business Bank’s two-year anniversary

The British Business Bank today launches a new report Spotlight: The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, at the MADE Festival in Sheffield. The report, published to mark the British Business Bank’s two-year anniversary, draws on the Bank’s own research together with other publicly-available data. It highlights the significant opportunities for ambitious, high-growth businesses in the North of England ahead of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF)’s formal launch in early 2017.

Specifically, the report details how the British Business Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will offer solutions for smaller businesses looking to grow, as well as identifying the strengths and challenges within the region:

  • The Northern Powerhouse area is already home to more than one million private sector businesses.
  • The region’s economy generates 19% of UK GDP.
  • Long term economic challenges include how to increase productivity from below the national average.
  • The Northern Powerhouse accounts for 21% of the UK’s high growth businesses (those that grow their staff by 20% or more per year over three years, having started with over 10 employees) – competitive with any English region outside of London.
  • Only 7% of SME equity investments by value went to the North, however, in 2015.
  • the economy of the North is bigger than the economies of a number of other European countries including Norway, Poland, Ireland, Finland, Greece, Denmark, Austria and Belgium.

The establishment of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is a hugely important part of the future funding of the region, and is the result of close collaboration between the British Business Bank and the ten Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the Tees Valley.

The British Business Bank has worked with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Communities and Local Government to direct European Regional Development Fund money into the fund. The British Business Bank is also investing £50m of its own capital in NPIF.

The £400 million fund is a central component of the government’s drive to boost long term growth and to narrow the historic North-South funding gap. NPIF will operate alongside a separate fund for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), meaning that over £500 million of new investment in smaller businesses will be facilitated within the Northern Powerhouse region. At the same time, NPIF will help nurture the networks and wider ‘ecosystem’ that can continue to support these businesses as they grow.

We are committed to building a Northern Powerhouse which helps the great cities and towns of the North pool their strengths to take on the world. Now an extra £500 million will be invested into the Northern Powerhouse to back local businesses with the power and resources they need to achieve their untapped potential. Andrew Percy Northern Powerhouse Minister
There are a record number of businesses in the UK, and the Northern Powerhouse is home to more than one million of them. The British Business Bank has made a significant impact over the last two years and this report highlights how it has been helping businesses start-up, scale-up and then stay ahead. Next year the bank will support the delivery of the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, unlocking the growth potential in the North of England, creating secure jobs and powering local economies as part of our Industrial Strategy. Margot James Small business minister

The publication of the Spotlight report coincides with the two year anniversary of the British Business Bank formally receiving State aid approval, enabling its establishment as an independent institution owned by government. Over the last two years the Bank has made an important contribution to small business growth in the UK:

  • Its programmes have delivered a total of £4bn in lending and investment over the two-year period, generating an additional turnover of £8.5bn in small businesses across the UK.
  • This finance has resulted in nearly £3bn of additional gross value-added in the economy.
  • It has achieved this while delivering a positive return on capital employed to the taxpayer.

The Bank has also helped create a more diverse finance market, supporting new lenders and forms of finance. Over 90% of its finance is deployed through finance providers other than the Big Four (high street) banks. Its Business Finance Guide, co-published with the ICAEW and with contributions from across the finance sector, has also helped raise smaller businesses’ awareness of their funding options, reaching over 700,000 businesses.

NPIF is an exceptionally important programme for the Bank. Working collaboratively with the ten LEPs in the North of England, we are bringing together a range of funding sources to help small businesses achieve their growth ambitions, revitalise local economies and create jobs. I am proud to be launching this spotlight report in the month that we mark our second anniversary. It is very encouraging to see the impact our programmes have made in unlocking finance for UK smaller businesses, delivering £4bn of funding through our 90 partners across the country. Keith Morgan British Business Bank CEO

The full Spotlight: The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund report is available on the British Business Bank website.

Further Information

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting over 51,000 businesses, working through its 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.2bn of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £4.6bn of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses.

British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.