South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) has revealed that 116 businesses across South Yorkshire have collectively secured more than £31m worth of investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), in addition to £24m attracted as private sector co-investment. Since the start of the pandemic, just over £14m has been deployed as part of driving the region’s growth and innovation and supporting businesses through the economic impacts.
NPIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships situated across Northern England, including South Yorkshire. It is designed to support new and growing SMEs, create jobs and encourage and attract additional private sector investment.
The Fund is a key part of the government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision, which aims to help reduce the North/South divide and create economic prosperity in the North of England on part with London and the South East.
Mayor of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) Dan Jarvis said: “We are pleased to be working alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to support South Yorkshire businesses. Since 2017, 116 businesses in our region have secured a combined total of £31m worth of investment, with the fund leveraging just under £24m from the private sector and in turn creating 477 jobs. This is having a significant impact on driving growth and prosperity in the region.”
Funds received through the NPIF helps businesses working across various sectors from manufacturing, engineering and construction to financial, hospitality, retail and education, plus others, to make key investments that will help them grow. This includes purchasing new equipment, relocation, expansion, staff training and recruitment, research and development, marketing, introducing new services and enhanced management processes.
Businesses that have so far benefited from NPIF support in South Yorkshire include Sheffield based technology manufacturer Tribosonics, Steps Rehabilitation, Televideo, Airship, Azzure, and Tinsley Bridge also in Sheffield, Barnsley based Pet Supplies Warehouse, Libertine in Rotherham and Togel and Barnsdales, which are located in Doncaster.
Libertine was the first company in the region to receive an NPIF equity investment, with £770,000 secured in 2019. The funds have enabled the company to build and demonstrate a number of prototype ‘intelliGEN’ smart engine modules incorporating its e-machine and control technology, engage with automotive manufacturers and further develop the business.
More recently, Tribosonics secured £1.1 million from the Fund to expand its 23-strong team with the addition of 10 new staff and invest further in product development. The company embeds sensors within bearings and other moving parts to create ‘intelligent components’ which can monitor friction and wear and tear to help other businesses extend plant life, prevent critical failures and reduce energy use.
Neil MacDonald, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member and NPIF Strategic Oversight Board Member, comments: “Our specialisms in industry 4.0, advanced manufacturing, digital and healthcare, combined with a wealth of skills and strength in innovation, means South Yorkshire offers a great level of investment potential. We’re extremely pleased that this is being recognised more than ever and our partnership and collaboration with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has resulted in so many businesses across the region benefiting from financial investment and support.”
Through its annual Small Business Equity Tracker, the Sheffield-headquartered British Business Bank’s has also reported that the number of equity investments in companies across the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber reached £146m in 2020, a 145 per cent increase on the previous year.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “Yorkshire and the Humber remains a hotbed for innovation, with many strengths such as advanced manufacturing, tech and life sciences, making it well placed for equity investment. While the latest figures are moving in the right direction and help address regional imbalances in access to finance, more needs to be done to support ambitious businesses in our area.”
“In 2020, NPIF supported one in five of all equity investments in the North and given the opportunity available, we would encourage all equity investors to explore Yorkshire and the Humber when it comes to future investments. This will not only support growth for local smaller businesses, but it will act as the catalyst to further fuel the levelling up agenda.”
Neil MacDonald adds: “Although things are looking up and the NPIF funding is certainly having a positive impact, South Yorkshire is still suffering from under-investment compared to some regions in the South. We are working hard to change this and looking to identify and support more SME businesses across South Yorkshire.”
Operating from the British Business Bank’s Sheffield head office, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides a mix of debt and equity funding (£25,000 to £2m). It works alongside ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to support Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development.
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, visit https://www.npif.co.uk/
For more information about funding available to South Yorkshire business, take a look at the Access to Finance service available through the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub by visiting https://www.scrgrowthhub.co.uk/services/access-to-finance/