Money flowing to businesses from £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Press release 11 April 2017

The £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has announced the first investments following its launch in February, with more than £240,000 going to four SMEs.

The transactions, which are spread across the Northern Powerhouse region, include:

Blake UK: NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Debt Finance, provided a £100,000 loan to Sheffield-based TV/AV reception and distribution products manufacturer/importer and supplier Blake UK. The funding will allow the company to diversify its product range into new lines such as CCTV equipment and increase stock levels required for new product ranges.

Red Security Solutions: Business Finance Solutions has invested £100,000 in Greater Manchester based mobile CCTV solutions provider Red Security Solutions Limited (RSS). The money, sourced from NPIF – BFS & AFM Microfinance, will allow RSS to invest into a range of new hybrid and solar powered security solutions.

Vulcan Passive Fire Systems: NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, provided £40,000 to Leeds based fire protection company Vulcan Passive Fire Systems. The company produces a range of fire protection products and systems. The money is part of a package which has allowed Vulcan Passive Fire Systems to employ four staff, with vehicles and accompanying equipment.

AEV: NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, supported Birkenhead-based AEV Limited, a manufacturer of varnishes, resins, compounds and insulating products designed for the electrical and electronic sectors. The funding will support the company’s continuing growth strategy, particularly in emerging markets outside the European Union.

Operating from the British Business Bank’s Sheffield head office, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides capital to fund managers who will offer Microfinance (£25,000 – £100,000), Business Finance (£100,000 – £750,000) and Equity Finance (up to £2m). NPIF works alongside 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), bringing together unprecedented partnerships with LEPs on both sides of the Pennines.

NPIF also works with combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as with local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mixture of debt and equity capital to Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development.

Our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse are delivering real results for local people. More than one million businesses are already involved and foreign direct investments are up by a quarter. This dedicated £400m fund will help us go even further. As part of our Plan for Britain to create a stronger economy, it will help smaller businesses across the region. These first investments show how this fund is already making a great impact. It’s delivering the resources local businesses need to reach their potential. Andrew Percy Northern Powerhouse Minister
While there is work ahead to fully unlock the potential of businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, the announcement of these first investments shows significant momentum and is cause for great optimism. We are confident that we can build on this strong start to provide funding across the range of geographies and sectors, making a real difference to the Northern Powerhouse region. Keith Morgan CEO at British Business Bank
The support on offer from NPIF -Enterprise Ventures Debt Finance was quick, straightforward, and provides a solid platform from which we can expand and achieve our growth ambitions for the future. These funds will allow us to increase our product range and bolster stock to meet strong customer demand for our products, and we are delighted that with the support from Enterprise Ventures we can take our business to the next level. Paul Blake Managing Director at Blake UK

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.

For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please visit

Further Information

Notes to editors

About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

  • The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, 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,
  • The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
  • The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
  • The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit
  • The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
  • There is a separate regional investment programme of £145m covering the North East LEP area.

About the British Business Bank

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 Financial Services Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, registered in England and Wales, registration number 09174621, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH.  It is not authorised or regulated by the PRA or FCA.

More information, including a legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries, can be found on the British Business Bank website.