LEP Perspective: Liverpool City Region

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Mark Basnett, Managing Director with the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership talks to the NPIF about the business landscape in Liverpool City Region.

The business landscape in Liverpool City Region is incredibly positive. There is a real sense of confidence and anticipation for the future across a wide range of sectors from advanced manufacturing to health and life sciences, digital, low carbon, tourism and maritime. Our leading companies continue to invest and thrive alongside new investors creating many opportunities for businesses in the supply chain. We have seen £5bn worth of investment, led by the private sector, in offshore wind, a new deep water container terminal, biomass facilities, two new hospitals and a new six lane bridge over the Mersey. The list goes on and on. New facilities for business are emerging all the time; Baltic Quarter, Knowledge Quarter, Logistics Hubs and Enterprise Zones.

However, this is not an overnight success. It has been a culmination of steady growth, alongside spectacular investments, achieved through vision and application and a hugely effective partnership between the public and private sector. This steady growth is reflected in the City Region’s post-recession resilience and between 2010 and 2016 there has been strong growth in the number of business enterprises in the City Region – stronger than the national average. And our City Region has one of the highest concentrations of high growth companies in the country.

The type of businesses we are seeing come forward for finance covers all sectors and sizes in the City Region. One deal that has already completed on the ground was with manufacturer AEV Ltd, based in Birkenhead. The funding was provided by NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance and will help the company to create new jobs and diversify into new markets.

Likewise, MSIF, which manages the Microfinance element of NPIF alongside other debt and equity funds in the City Region, is currently working on deals worth £23m with businesses across its portfolio of funds. The area where demand outstrips supply is typically in early stage seed capital, where risk is high and provision is specialist. Often the challenge here is getting these early stage and other businesses into a more investable state and we are working with commercial advisers and partners like MSIF and their newly launched finance hub to support businesses to get investment ready and make informed use of commercial advisers.

Other opportunities for SMEs come via our Local Growth Hub which we launched, with partners, in 2016 to simplify the business support landscape and help local businesses make sense and appropriate use of the myriad on business support initiatives and service from the public and private sectors. In less than a year we have worked with over 4,000 local businesses helping them to access a raft of support to enable them to grow.

Mark Basnett, Managing Director with the Liverpool City Region LEP

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. 

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