Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund Interim Evaluation
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) is an initiative delivered by the government-owned British Business Bank. It is a key part of the Government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision and provides Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance to fund SMEs growth and development. SQW, supported by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) at Middlesex University, Belmana and BMG Research, was commissioned to evaluate the NPIF, alongside similar funds in the Midlands Engine, and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.
Our interim evaluation of the NPIF has been published. The report analysed the impact of NPIF across the North, including the success of businesses that have received funding since its launch in 2017. The Fund has made 1,324 investments into 983 companies totalling £318m to the end of January 2022. The Fund has also generated an additional £437m in private sector leverage, boosting the overall impact on Northern SMEs.
The report found that the Investment Fund increased productivity, employment and skills across the North. Almost three quarters of the businesses had increased workforce skills, and 62% reported additional investment in research and development. In addition, 6,071 new high-quality jobs have been created through the fund – almost 1,000 more than originally planned. The interim evaluation also found that for 68% of surveyed businesses, the NPIF investment had enabled the development of new products or services and of these, 48% said their innovations would reduce carbon emissions, 52% said that they would lead to broader environmental benefits, and 42% said they would improve health or the delivery of health services. More widely there were impacts on business resilience, confidence in raising finance and increased valuations among businesses receiving equity investment.