Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has welcomed the launch of the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
This new source of funding was launched at a conference dedicated to the Powerhouse scheme, which took place in Manchester this week, by the Government-backed British Business Bank.
It will be based in Sheffield and will work with 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities and growth hubs, as well as some accountants, fund managers and banks.
Money will be provided to fund managers who will offer microfinance (£25,000 - £100,000), business loans (£100,000 - £750,000) and equity finance (up to £2m).
In Cumbria it will work with the LEP, the county's local authorities and the Growth Hub to provide funding to firms in the county.
The aim of NPIF is to change the structure of finance markets for smaller businesses so that they work more effectively and dynamically, with the aim of increasing economic activity.
George Beveridge, chairman of Cumbria LEP, said: “We knew that 2017 would bring different funding opportunities for local businesses which can help them with their plans for growth. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is designed to do just this, enabling businesses to build capacity and capability to compete in an ever changing market place.
“This is about improving funding options and opportunities to support smaller businesses across the county. It will complement the business support activity already delivering jobs and growth here. So it’s crucial that we tap into the NPIF and maximise access to available funds.
“The success of Cumbria, the Northern Powerhouse and wider UK economy are linked. We have nationally significant assets to power the UK economy and Cumbria is the fourth fastest area for economic growth in the UK over last decade."
“The county is making an increasingly important contribution to national prosperity, security and wellbeing," he added.
"It is in a unique position to make a significant contribution to the Northern Powerhouse and the UK economy."
A Cumbria-specific launch even is being held at the LEP's centre in Redhills, Penrith on March 14.
Choose Cumbria is endorsed by Cumbria LEP.
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