Investment fund for SMEs secures an extra £100m

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has allocated a further £100m to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund that has invested £30m into Merseyside SMEs. Tony McDonough reports

Inovus Medical
Inovus founders, Jordan Van Flute, left, and Dr Elliot Street, who have benefited from the NPIF


Small and medium-sized firms in the Liverpool city region will get access to a further £100m of investment funding following the Chancellor’s Spending Review.

Rishi Sunak has allocated a further £100m to the British Business Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). This brings the total investment into the fund to more than £500m.

Backed with EU funding, the NPIF was launched in February 2017 and invested £200m into more than 700 SMEs in the north of England. It offers equity finance, debt finance and microfinance ranging from £25,000 to £2m.

In the Liverpool city region the fund has invested £30m into more than 70 businesses. Of that total £15m has been invested directly by NPIF and the remainder by partner organisations such as MSIF in Liverpool.

NPIF funding has enabled these businesses to scale up through new product launches, expand into new global markets and further invest in staff and infrastructure. It now supports almost one in five equity deals across the North.

Recipients of money from the fund in Merseyside include Inovus Medical, which designs and manufactures medical and surgical simulators and  has seen staff numbers quadruple and global sales surge due to a series of investments.

Set up in 2012 by Dr Elliot Street and Jordan Van Flute, it is now supplying more than 60% of NHS trusts in the UK and is exporting its products to more than 70 countries across the world.

Catherine Lewis
Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of the British Business Bank


Based in St Helens, Innovus initially received an £80,000 loan from Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) – BFS & MSIF Microfinance in 2017. This was followed by a £500,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance last year.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said: “Having recently passed its £200m milestone, NPIF has demonstrated a strong track record of supporting small businesses across the North, and will continue to be a key player contributing to the UK’s economic recovery.”

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.

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