Plugging the Lancashire funding gap

Funded jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, The North West Fund is the largest of its type in the UK and amongst the largest in Europe – a £185m pot to be invested by the end of 2015 in growing North West businesses.

By the end of July 2011, we had received over 1,000 applications for funding, with close to 20 per cent of those from Lancashire businesses – a figure that reflects the funding gap that exists in the county and the wider North West for investment of £50k to £2m.

So with a successful first eight months under our belts, what does the remainder of 2011 hold in store for The North West Fund?

All three of our sector funds – biomedical, energy and environmental, and digital and creative – are performing strongly. And of our non-sector specific funds, the business loans and venture funds are the busiest, with several investments apiece already completed.

But the objectives of The North West Fund are not focused solely on supporting young, early stage businesses. We want to build a diverse portfolio that represents a true cross-section of the North West economy.

One of the ways in which we hope to achieve this is by working more closely with the banks. Where a bank is unable or unwilling to fund an entire proposition, we can step in to fill the gap. At the more mature end of the market in particular, this represents an attractive financial solution for a growing business, and we hope to complete more of these types of transactions.

So if you are a long-established Lancashire business and are looking for funding to support your growth ambitions, or a banker or adviser that would like us to look at a proposition, find out more and get in touch with our fund managers at

Andy Leach
The North West Fund

Andy Leach is the Chief Executive Officer of North West Business Finance, the private, not-for-profit company that was set up to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund