British Business Bank’s regional equity funds sign up to Investing in Women Code

The Equity Fund Managers from the British Business Bank’s regional funds – the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) have all become signatories of the Investing in Women Code, a commitment by financial services firms to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resource and finance from the financial services sector.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s (NPIF) dedicated equity fund managers Maven Capital Partners and Mercia Asset Management, that lead delivery of NPIF – Maven Equity Finance and NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance across the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley have committed to the Code.

Launched by HM Treasury, the Code commits organisations to promoting female entrepreneurship by having a nominated member of the senior leadership team who will be responsible for supporting equality in access to finance. It also increases the transparency of financial services firms’ data concerning support for female entrepreneurs and encourages adoption of internal practices to improve the outlook for female entrepreneurs.

More than seven in 10 (71%) NPIF funded businesses had at least one woman in their senior management team according to data from the mid-term evaluation of the Fund. Funding from NPIF has supported businesses in increasing workforce skills, bringing new products and services to market and improving business resilience.
Among the seven in 10 NPIF-supported businesses with women in leadership positions, around three in seven had women accounting for at least half of their senior management team. Teesside-based biomass pioneer Nova Pangaea Technologies, Lancashire recruitment firm Fresh Perspective and mental wellbeing technology company Moodbeam are among the female-led businesses supported by NPIF.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO at the British Business Bank, said: “The Investing in Women Code represents a commitment to advancing female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. It sets out clear objectives and guidance to signatories and its progress is reported on annually. It is designed to drive a more diverse and inclusive business ecosystem which is beneficial to customers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and society.

“At the British Business Bank our goal is to break down barriers for entrepreneurs who face challenges in accessing the finance they need to prosper and grow. Our regional equity funds are brilliant examples of what can be done. The Bank is working with a large number of female founders forming part of an inclusive network of like minded entrepreneurs and investment partners, helping to bridge what was once a significant gender gap.”

Christina Colmer McHugh, Founder and Director at Moodbeam, said: “The support Moodbeam has received from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Mercia has been fantastic. Thanks to investment, we have been able to continue to innovate and grow throughout our journey, bringing a valuable product to market at a crucial time. It is fantastic to see the British Business Bank’s regional equity funds sign up to this Code, and commit to greater support for female business leaders seeking investment.”

Karen de Meza, Portfolio Director at Maven, said: “Whilst there have been positive signs of change, female founders sadly remain few in number and still face many challenges when it comes to securing venture capital. It perhaps begins with perceptions around what an entrepreneur looks like, aligned with gaining access to venture capital firms and their networks, and a lack of representation of women in the industry may not always support that. The Investing in Women Code is a positive step towards eliminating biases and providing greater opportunities to women in business.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.


About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
• The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
• The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity,
• The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

• The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Hull and East Yorkshire, Leeds City Region, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, York & North Yorkshire
• The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit
• The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.

About the British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £8.5bn[1] of finance to almost 95,000 smaller businesses[2]. The British Business Bank is responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes and Future Fund, together responsible for delivering £80.4 bn of finance to 1.67m businesses. The schemes are now closed to new applications.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

Data on NPIF support for businesses involving women in leadership roles is taken from a forthcoming interim assessment of NPIF. In 29% of supported businesses women accounted for at least half of the senior management team in the respective business. An additional 42% of supported businesses had at least one woman in their senior management team but had an overall senior management team composition where women took up fewer than half of the positions. This means 71% (=29% + 42%) of businesses had at least one woman in their senior management team.