Ambitious regional businesses are being invited to make their bids for an investment from a new £4m extension to the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
Run by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, the Growth Fund is a general investment fund aimed at businesses at a development and growth stage based anywhere in the North East.
Since the fund launched in early 2010, NEL has made 126 investments from it with an average deal value of over £200,000.
It is now looking to make up to 15 further investments over the coming year of between £50,000 and £400,000, and is actively looking to hear from regional firms and their advisors who have plans to expand during 2016 and beyond, especially those that haven’t previously sought this type of outside investment.
The total value of investments made by NEL from the Growth Fund passed the £25m mark at the beginning of this year, with around £5m of development capital provided by them to regional businesses during 2015 alone.
Having originally offered £20m of development capital, the value of the Growth Fund was increased by an additional £3m in summer 2013 by North East Finance, the holding fund manager with overall responsibility for the Finance for Business North East initiative, and then by a further £3m at the start of last year.
Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL, says: “Having a consistent flow of investment capital available as regional businesses evolve through different stages of development is absolutely essential, and securing this extension to the Growth Fund is great news both for ourselves and the wider North East economy.
“The investments we make are designed to both create and sustain regional employment, as well as to encourage wealth creation and investment in our supply chain, and we have many examples in our investee portfolio of North East firms that have used Growth Fund capital to do just that by securing national and international commercial success.
“Demand for the type of mezzanine funding we provide remains as strong as ever, and while we already have a number of investment proposals at different stages of the application assessment process, we want to hear from as many North East businesses as possible with strong management teams and robust development plans, especially if they’ve not previously considered going down this road to putting those plans into action.”
Andrew Mitchell, chief executive at North East Finance, adds: “We are delighted to be able to secure more funds for NEL and our other fund managers.
“They can now build on their success in supporting some of the most exciting businesses in the region.”
Established by holding fund manager North East Finance (NEF) in 2010, the £159.5m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme is a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East of England. They will continue investing throughout 2016, and aim to support 950 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.