“My advice to founders is to reject rejection.”

That’s the view of Sue Barnard, senior manager in the North West for the British Business Bank.

British Business Bank delivers the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), which provides over £500m of investment to boost growing businesses in the North.

Barnard is a veteran in the industry having previously worked at GC Business Growth Hub, MIDAS and the North West Development Agency and says NPIF isn’t the only show in town when it comes to raising investment.

“My advice to founders is to have a look around,” she says. “British Business Bank backs 180 different finance partners. In 2021 we did a deal a day under NPIF so we got £100m out last year alone to growing businesses.

“However every day I read about different funding stories and I often discover it’s been done by one of our partners with backing from the British Business Bank. There are a lot of alternative options available.”

The British Business Bank is government-owned but independently managed. It works with a wide range of partners, ranging from high-street banks to alternative lenders and venture capital funds to increase the supply of finance to smaller businesses.

Don’t give up

Speaking at TechBlast’s latest Going 4 Growth roundtable, Barnard says people seeking money mustn’t give up at the first setback.

“We do have a number of funds for the British Business Bank with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund being our predominate one for the North, covering the Northern Powerhouse region but it’s important to get the message out there that there are other funds available,” she says.

“We’re starting to push more funding out to businesses through different programmes including the  Regional Angels Programme where we have three North West partners, including Deepbridge Capital, DSW Angels & Praetura Ventures and during the pandemic we delivered £87m of funding to North West businesses through the Future Fund programme.

“When we launched the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund we were so successful in getting the message out there that some people started to think ‘I’ve never heard of the British Business Bank!’

“Now we’re switching that around. A number of alternative funders are out there. NPIF is my passion. We’ve still got another £200m to get out in the next two years and we’ve been given another £660m by the government to carry on once that fund finishes.

“If someone says ‘no’ don’t give up looking around to see what else is available. That would be my piece of advice to any entrepreneur.”