Venture capital fund managers and specialist debt partners are mounting a charm offensive now that bids have been submitted to run the next phase of the £660m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (npif).

Mercia Asset Management has cranked up the publicity drive and boasted it has invested £8.7m in the North West in the first half of 2023 and is “open for business”.

FW Capital, part of the Development Bank of Wales, which is  has delivered the loans and investment through npif-FW Capital Debt Finance and boasts £275m of funding to businesses across the North of England, backing over 730 businesses, since the launch of all of its funds in 2010.

Both are expected to have submitted detailed proposals to the government’s British Business Bank, which administers npif, one of a series of new Nations and Regions Investment Funds which will offer a range of commercial finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investment up to £5 million, across the North.

Of the £660m allocated to NPIFII, designed to target imbalances in access to finance across the North, just over 57% will go to equity and just under 43% to debt with £224m initially retained as an Investor Reserve. understands that Praetura Ventures has submitted a bid.

The Manchester-based venture capital investor has raised £10m to invest in a northern business Venture Capital Trust and float the business on the stock market, which could well bolster its credentials.

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