A Darlington firm is among more than 1,000 small businesses to have benefited from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

Since its launch in 2017, the NPIF has invested in 1,033 businesses across the North, with an investment total of £334m.

An additional £504m attracted in private sector co-investment means the NPIF has delivered more than £800m of funding to Northern small businesses in the last five years.

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NPIF was launched by the British Business Bank using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the Government and the European Investment Bank.

It forms a key part of the Bank’s activities to back the Government’s Levelling Up agenda by helping to reduce regional funding imbalances and create economic prosperity in the North of England.

Throughout the past five years, NPIF has worked closely with the North’s ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) combined authorities and growth hubs.

NPIF and its fund managers have worked with these organisations to support small and medium businesses across Yorkshire & Humber, the Tees Valley and in the North West.

At the Spending Review in October 2021, the Chancellor pledged a further £660m for the next generation of NPIF, which is set to cover every corner of the North, including the North East LEP area.

NPIF offers a range of funding options to suit all types of businesses including microfinance between £25,000 and £100,000, debt finance between £100,000 and £750,000, and equity finance up to £2m.

Recent deals include £175,000 of investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance to Darlington-based Strelitzia Software Ltd.

This investment will allow Strelitzia to expand and develop its routes to market, as well as create eight local jobs.

Other Tees Valley investments include a six-figure investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance into Next Level Security Services (NLSS), a security firm based out of Stockton-on-Tees.

Funding will enable fulfilment of a new contract win for the company, as well as the creation of new jobs including local apprenticeships.

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Catherine Lewis La Torre, acting CEO of British Business Bank, said: “Supporting over 1,000 businesses across the North of England is a significant milestone for NPIF.

“This investment has provided these businesses with the capital they needed to invest in R&D and to bring new products and services to market.

“This has resulted in increased revenues and has supported local communities through the creation of high quality jobs.

“As NPIF celebrates its first five years, and as a second NPIF fund has been announced, we recognise that there is still enormous potential for further productive investment in a broad range of businesses with ambitious growth plans across the North of England.”


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