The North East’s longest-standing business investor has made investments worth a total of over £5.5m in regional firms during what has been its busiest ever investment year.
NEL Fund Managers has complete 61 separate investments in businesses across Tyne & Wear, Northumberland and County Durham during 2021, at an average of more than one new deal every week, despite the team having to predominantly work separately and remotely through the year.
NEL is responsible for managing two elements of the £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund – the £9m North East Small Loan Fund and the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund.
As a result of the investments made by NEL since the North East Fund was launched in 2018, an additional £4.8m of private sector leverage has been secured this year, while almost 250 new jobs have also been created.
Comprehensive growth and investment readiness support has also been provided to a further 90 companies that haven’t yet received financial backing from the North East Fund, while NEL has significantly increased its investment presence through the year in the low carbon sector.
For the first half of 2021, it also provided loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, while over the last six months, it has acted as an accredited provider for the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), which is scheduled to run until the end of June 2022.
Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, says: “There is never a shortage of strong business ideas coming out of the North East business community, and despite the many and varied challenges that we’ve all faced this year, we’ve been able to invest more than we ever have before in helping to bring these ideas to fruition.
“The impact that this year’s investments are having in terms of creating and sustaining regional employment, supporting new ideas and innovation, and unlocking further sources of capital is already clear to see, and we’re expecting to see that impact grow next year and beyond.
“The North East’s low carbon economy is developing at a very impressive rate, and we’ve been able to support a growing number of robust growth strategies that place just as much emphasis on environmental responsibility as they do on commercial success.
“Our expert team and the many members of the region’s excellent professional services community that have been advising our investees have made a real difference to the future prospects of dozens of North East businesses.
“Our aim now is to carry this momentum on into the new year and to maximise the number of ambitious regional firms that we can help on the next stage of their growth journeys.”
Jason Hobbs, CEO of The North East Fund, adds: “While conditions over the past year have remained difficult for many businesses across the region, it is encouraging that they have continued to find and to fund opportunities to pursue growth.
“We look forward to 2022 with optimism, when the North East Fund and NEL will continue to offer guidance and finance to businesses at all stages of their development.”
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.