Two Yorkshire-based lenders have loaned more than £1m across the region using their combined status as fund managers for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) and Finance For Enterprise (FFE) secured the tender for providing Microfinance in March 2017 and have since received a total of 121 online applications, demonstrating entrepreneurial spirit across Yorkshire and the North East.
BEF and FFE have provided 23 loans in three months using the NPIF scheme. Chief Executive of BEF, Stephen Waud said: “Reaching the £1m loaned is a very positive start to managing NPIF for the region in partnership with the Finance For Enterprise team. It’s fantastic to see businesses confident about the future and applying for loans for over £25k; there’s a real sense of growth across numerous industries whether in terms of facilities, land or staff and having access to the £10m NPIF – BEF and FFE Microfinance is an invaluable regional resource.”
Cross Hills-based designer radiator firm Crimson Bear is one of the first to have utilised the scheme. Having taken a BEF loan in 2015 to purchase stock, entrepreneurial duo Paul Johnson and Andrew Smith applied for a £31k NPIF loan to further expand warehouse and office space, hire a third apprentice and on online trading manager. Paul said: “We’re grateful to BEF for the NPIF loan as it means we can focus on the development of our apprentices as they progress through the company; something we’re extremely passionate about. We’ve even sent apprentices to our radiator factory in Poland so they can become fully immersed in the business.”
Leanne Pilkington, Finance and Marketing Officer at Finance For Enterprise, said both organisations are delighted to have secured more than £1m in loans for local businesses through NPIF. She added: “Surpassing the £1m lending mark is great news and strengthens business in the region.
“We’ve safeguarded two job opportunities within Doncaster’s Laser Additive Solutions Ltd thanks to a £25k NPIF loan, as well as allowing the owner, Peter Brown, to buy new equipment and have the capital to complete contracts. The firm specialises in additive manufacturing which uses 3D design data; it’s important to us that we can encourage these innovative industries with the support from the NPIF resources.”
Sean Hutchinson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, added: “The Yorkshire, Humber and the Tees Valley regions have been incredibly receptive to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. It is very positive that Fund Managers have already seen a large number of businesses making enquiries for funding, demonstrating the strong appetite for growth”.
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.