The maximum amount available to North East SMEs from a £9m investment fund has been doubled by the region’s longest-standing business investor.
NEL Fund Managers is responsible for investing the £9m North East Small Loan Fund, which usually offers loans of up to £50,000, and is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new jobs in more than 320 SMEs across Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
But in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting increased growth capital needs of many SMEs, NEL has increased the maximum investment amount available to £100,000 until the end of the year after getting approval for the change from the North East Fund.
Investment applications and completions have been continuing during the lockdown period, with the NEL team working remotely with applicants and their advisors to complete several new deals over the last two months.
NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the North East Fund programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, says: “We’ve continued to receive investment applications during the lockdown period from firms that retain clear growth ambitions and we remain very much open for business.
“Doubling the maximum investment value available from the Small Loan Fund will give North East entrepreneurs a great incentive and opportunity to put their ideas into action, as well as access to the sorts of additional resources they might need to succeed in a difficult economic climate.
“There will also be firms that aren’t eligible for the government’s bounce back loan or business interruption loan schemes, but which have viable commercial propositions that they will be able to take forward with the right financial backing.
“The impact of our investments has been clear to see in the performance of the firms we’ve already backed from our two funds, and our continuing mission is to keep helping North East firms implement sustainable growth models that enable them to create more and better jobs.”
Jason Hobbs, chief executive at the North East Fund, adds: “NEL has been firmly embedded in the North East business community for many years and so are well placed to identify market gaps due their network of clients and contacts.
“Their proposal to increase the amount of funding available from our Small Loan Fund made perfect sense in the current environment and the North East Fund was happy to approve the change.”
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007