A private equity company is seeking SMEs in the county who have high growth potential.

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) Maven Equity Finance can offer eligible businesses up to £2million in growth capital investment.

NPIF Maven Equity Finance manages the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) through Maven Capital Partners, the UK's most active private equity house.

The fund provides investment and strategic support to growth businesses in Cumbria, and is always on the lookout for promising potential investees.

James Rosthorn, senior investment manager at Maven Capital Partner, explained: “One recent investment involved backing a Kendal-based software business to the tune of £700,000, which will create numerous jobs in the Cumbria area.

“While a small number of sectors, such as gambling, are excluded, essentially any high-potential businesses are eligible for NPIF support, regardless of their sector.

“Perhaps the most important factor determining a company’s suitability for our support is the contribution they can make to economic development and job creation in the area.

“Indeed, this is the reason why the NPIF was established: to help businesses across the region to scale up and become part of the Government’s “Northern Powerhouse” vision.”

“Cumbria has historically lagged behind much of the UK in terms of internet speed, which is increasingly critical for unlocking growth.

“With help from the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, however, internet speeds are dramatically improving in rural communities, which is key for a region such as Cumbria.

“In addition, unlocking growth in industries that support leisure and hospitality in the region could be critical in the wake of recent years’ lockdown restrictions.

“Estimates place the value of the leisure and hospitality industry to the local economy at around £3billion, so playing to this key strength should foster post-pandemic growth.”

James said the most important means of unlocking growth is to increase awareness of available funding.

Many businesses are simply unaware of this, he said.

James added: “Any SME seeking growth capital should have a solid business plan and financial forecast.

“Moreover, as equity investors, we would expect potential investees to have a clear exit strategy, whether that be the scale of their company to a larger company, or perhaps a management buyout transaction.

“We also analyse the potential of an investee’s product to add value in its market.

“They must therefore demonstrate their differentiation and growing demand for their product, for instance, as well as a deep understanding of their market and the companies they compete with within it.

“The final key ingredient is scalability.

“Could a new software platform, for example, readily onboard an increased number of users?

“Understanding how to scale is an important but often overlooked part of a business’ growth plan.”

For more information about the fund, click here.