Our online eligibility checklist helps you see which type of
finance might be right for your business.
View the full list of funds available
What happens once I submit an online
The application will be sent to the relevant Fund Manager who
will undertake an initial review of your application before
contacting you to discuss the opportunity further. Visit
the Investment Process
page to find out more about the stages
How do I know what type of finance I need?
Please visit the Eligibility Checklist to see what
type of finance is right for your business.
Why is The North West Fund broken down into six discrete
This is the largest public venture capital and loan fund in
Europe. By breaking the fund into six product funds we have been
able to appoint specialists in each of the discrete fund areas,
which will also help ensure that all the funding is invested by the
end of 2015.
Why are there six different Fund Managers?
We expect there to be a large number of applications, so having
a six different Fund Managers will help manage the anticipated
level of interest efficiently. More importantly, the Fund Managers
have skills specific for, and relevant to, each product fund. For
example, the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental is
managed by CT Investment Partners, who are leaders in this
How is The North West Fund financed?
The North West Fund is financed jointly by the European Regional
Development Fund and the European Investment Bank. The North West
Fund is financed under the European Commission's Joint European
Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative - otherwise
known as the JEREMIE programme.
Who is North West Business Finance Limited?
North West Business Finance Limited is an independent, private
sector, not-for-profit company which is limited by guarantee and
has been specifically established to oversee the delivery of The
North West Fund. The company structure for North West Business
Finance Limited can be viewed in more detail here.
How much funding is available?
A total of £155m is available across the six product funds for
investment up to the end of 2015.
How long is The North West Fund open for?
It is expected that The North West Fund will be open for
investment until the end of 2015. However, ultimately the actual
investment period of The North West Fund will be determined by the
rate of investment and could close earlier if all the funding is
allocated before then.
Where do businesses need to be located in order to be
eligible for funding?
Applications for funding from SMEs that are either in the North
West are planning to relocate to the North West of England as part
of their investment proposition will be considered.
What if your company is not based in the North
Only SMEs based in the North West or that plan to move to the
North West as part of the investment proposition can be considered
for investment. If you fall outside this geographic criterion,
Business Link will be able to give details of funding opportunities
elsewhere in the UK.
Will businesses in all stages of development be
considered for investment?
The North West Fund is targeted at growing businesses that are
unable to secure funding from traditional sources in order to
finance their growth plans. Consequently, The North West Fund is
targeted at growing SMEs, irrespective of their "age". However,
there are restrictions around investments in businesses in
difficulty and firms in certain sectors. Please contact the
relevant Fund Manager for further information.
What are the sectors that the funds cannot invest
Whilst the scheme is open to most business sectors, the
following businesses will generally be ineligible for support under
The North West Fund:
Please contact the relevant Fund Manager for further details of
What are the minimum and maximum amounts of funding that
The North West Fund will make available?
The minimum amount of funding, whether an equity or loan
investment, is £50,000. The maximum loan amount is capped at
£750,000 but the other equity-based funds are able to invest up to
£2,000,000 into a company. However, the amount that may be invested
in any 12 month period is restricted to €1,500,000.
Can SMEs receive more than one round of
Yes, The North West Fund has been structured to permit the
provision of follow-on funding. There is also the potential to fund
other SMEs that individuals may have an interest in.
If a Fund Manager declines a funding opportunity, will I
be permitted to re-present the opportunity to The North West
Yes. If your initial proposition is declined, it may be
reconsidered if you have resolved the reasons for its original
rejection. For example, you are now based in the North West or the
amount of investment required has changed so that it now falls
within The North West Fund's permitted investment range.
Will The North West Fund have a charge over my
Security will be required on loans made and in the case of the
other funds an equity stake may be taken in your business to
balance the potential reward from the investment with the perceived
What do I do if I don't have a business
An outline business plan is required to process your
application. If you do not have a business plan please contact
Business Link who will be able to help you develop a business plan.
Alternatively you can download our business plan template or
contact the relevant Fund Manager for further advice.
Do I have to have been trading for a minimum number of
No, applications from new and established companies are equally
What are outputs and how do they relate to my
The funding that The North West Fund has received from the
European Regional Development Fund has been provided on the basis
that it will help generate a number of economic benefits for the
North West region. The outputs include measures such as jobs
created or safeguarded, the number of businesses supported and the
increase in "gross value added" that the investment facilitates.
North West Business Finance Limited is required to report regularly
to the European Regional Development Fund on the progress being
made in the achievement of these outputs. The Fund Managers will
explain this more fully should you be eligible for investment.
What are the timescales for repayment of a
Typically a loan will be expected to repaid within 2-5 years.
Please contact FW Capital Limited, the Fund Manager for the North
West Fund for Business Loans, for more information.
What are the likely interest rates on a
The interest rates on the loans will vary on a case by case
basis as they comprise of a combination of the current Bank Rate
and the margin which reflects the perceived risk in providing the
funding given the available security for the loan. However, as
these loans are expected to be made available where no other
commercial loan can be secured, the interest rate will be set at a
level higher than a commercial loan would attract. Please
contact FW Capital Limited for more
information on this matter.
How will investments made by The North West Fund be
Each company which receives investment from The North West Fund,
whether loan or equity, will be required to submit regular reports
to the relevant Fund Manager. The Fund Manager will also make
regular visits to your offices to assess and discuss with you the
progress being made on the project for which the funding has been
Do you require independently audited accounts to be
provided every year?
Generally yes, but the specific requirement will need to be
discussed and agreed with your particular Fund Manager.
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