The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has reached the £2 million milestone of support for high-growth small and medium sized businesses.

A total of eight county businesses have received investment through the NPIF, which is delivered by the British Business Bank, to boost turnover, create new jobs and expand into new markets since its launch in February 2017.

In Cumbria NPIF is deployed through fund managers, BFS MSIF, which provides microfinance between £20,000 and £100,000; FW Capital, which provides debt finance loans between £100,000 and £750,000; and Maven, which provides equity finance between £50,000 and £2m.

The biggest investment so far is in artisan cheese maker Appleby Creamery, which secured a £250,000 loan from FW Capital Debt Finance to make alterations to its state-of-the-art production facility and move into new international markets.

On the other end of the scale, Kendal-based Neat and Sweet Laundry received £30,000 from BFS & MSIF Microfinance, to purchase new stock and take on seven new full-time members of staff.

Other businesses in the food and drink sector, technical training and mobile software have also benefitted from NPIF backing.

Steve Curl, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s SME representative, hailed the milestone and urged other Cumbrian companies to seeking NPIF support.

“Reaching the £2m investment mark in Cumbria is a fantastic achievement.

“NPIF provides valuable financial support to our growing, innovative businesses, helping to create jobs and increase productivity. Eight businesses are already benefitting from NPIF’s financial solutions, giving them the support they need to grow and prosper.

“We look forward to announcements of further investments through the fund in the county.”

Grant Peggie at British Business Bank, added: “The £2m that has already been invested in businesses throughout Cumbria demonstrates that there is both appetite for investment and a commitment to help businesses achieve their growth ambitions.

“Our objective is to continue to help more companies in Cumbria and the wider North, and tap into the great potential of the region’s business community.

“We understand the importance of having boots on the ground to achieve this. Through dedicated functions such as FW Capital’s Penrith office, opened to make the NPIF funds more accessible to Cumbria businesses, we will continue to build on the good work achieved in the region and make a positive difference to businesses across a range of sectors.”

The NPIF supports businesses across the North’s 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships areas using funding from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and the European Investment Bank.