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.