eligibility checklist

What type of finance do I need?

Our online eligibility checklist helps you see which type of finance might be right for your business.

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eligibility checklist

Funds Available

View the full list of funds available

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Frequently Asked Questions


Is there any funding left?

The North West Fund was launched in 2010 and was fully invested by June 2016. There is no longer any finance available for businesses.

Will there be any more funding?

Not for the forseeable future. The focus for NWBF over the coming years is to ensure that our portfolio companies maximise their growth in order to realise the greatest return for our investment.

Is there going to be another European programme/Northern Powerhouse Fund?

Yes. There is another round of European finance available for SME's and a Northern Powerhouse Fund set to be launched in late 2016/early 2017. Check out The British Business Bank website for more information.

What happens once I submit an online application?

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 involved.  

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 seven discrete Funds?

This is one of the largest public venture capital and loan fund in Europe. By breaking the fund into seven 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 is there a different Fund Manager for each Fund?

We expect there to be a large number of applications, so having a different Fund Manager for each Fund 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 & Environmental is managed by 350 Investment Partners, who are leaders in this field.

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 seven 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 will be considered from SMEs that are either in the North West or are planning to relocate to the North West of England as part of their investment proposition.

What if your company is not based in the North West?

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, try contacting your local Chamber or LEP (if you have one) for further information about funding in your area.

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 in?

Whilst the scheme is open to most business sectors, the following businesses will generally be ineligible for support under The North West Fund:

  • Those subject to collective insolvency proceedings.
  • Those in commercial property investment.
  • Retail businesses.
  • Those covered by EC sector restrictions including the production of synthetic fibres, shipbuilding, coal and steel, agriculture, including fisheries but excluding the processing and marketing of such products.
  • Those which fall within the definition of a "business in financial difficulty" under the "Community Guidelines on State Aid for Rescuing and Restructuring firms in difficulty"

Please contact the relevant Fund Manager for further details of restricted sectors.

What are the minimum and maximum amounts of funding that The North West Fund will make available?

Our equity investments all start from £50,000 however we do have loan finance available from £25,000. 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 funding?

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 Fund?

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 business?

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 risk.

What do I do if I don't have a business plan?

An outline business plan is required to process your application. If you need help with developing a business plan, you may find the resources on the Gov.UK website helpful. Alternatively download our Business Plan Template or speak to the relevant Fund Manager.

Do I have to have been trading for a minimum number of years?

No, applications from new and established companies are equally welcome.

What are outputs and how do they relate to my business?

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 loan?

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 Loans Plus, for more information.

What are the likely interest rates on a loan?

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 monitored?

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 provided.

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.