UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Finance for Business North East Fund Goes Live Investing £125m Into Regional Economy

Press Release   •   Jan 25, 2010 11:32 GMT

A new £125m ‘super fund’ was officially launched today (Friday 22 January) aimed at supporting hundreds of businesses which will help lead the North East’s economic recovery.

The Finance for Business North East Fund was unveiled by Rosie Winterton MP, Minister for Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination, to scores of businesses at an event at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham.

The new fund - formerly called JEREMIE - will underpin the growth of business start-ups, technology-based companies and growing smaller businesses, helping to create jobs and prosperity for the region through targeted loans and equity investments.

Over the next five years, it will support up to 850 small and medium-sized North East companies, with the aim of creating more than 5,000 jobs.

Rosie Winterton MP said: "I am delighted to formally launch the North East ‘super fund’.

“The recent economic situation has had a significant impact on the people and businesses of the North East.  This venture capital fund is a key part of getting critical help to small and medium sized businesses to invest in the recovery. Along with other Government support measures, this will help ensure the region’s economic prosperity, helping hundreds of businesses and creating thousands of new jobs.”

Senior representatives from both the European Investment Bank and European Commission will also address the audience, outlining the importance of their investment into the first fund of its type in England.

The European Investment Bank is committing £62.5m into the fund, with £44.25m coming from the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013 and £18.25m from regional development agency One North East.

Finance for Business North East comprises six separate funds and businesses in the audience will have the opportunity to speak with the newly-appointed fund managers about how to access the finance available.

The fund management firms leading the six funds that will comprise JEREMIE are:

·                    NorthStar Equity Investors, an active early stage fund management company established in Newcastle since 2004, who will manage the £15m Technology Proof of Concept Fund and the £20m Seed Fund.

·                    IP Group, which operates on a nationwide basis, who will run the £25m Technology Fund from offices in Newcastle.

·                    Rivers Capital Partners – a new joint venture between leading technology investment firm E-Synergy and local business advisors Finance Tree of Newcastle - who will manage the £7.5m Angel Match Fund.

·                    FW Capital, a specialist in regional investment, who will manage the £20m Growth Plus Fund  through their new North East office.

·                    NEL Fund Managers, of Newcastle, who will run the £20m Growth Fund.

Malcolm Page, One North East Deputy Chief Executive, said: “The creation of the Finance for Business North East Fund has been led by One North East and will underpin the companies that will help lead the growth of the North East economy as it emerges from recession.

“The fund represents an exciting new era in publicly backed venture capital in our region and the support of the European Investment Bank and European Commission is a real vote of confidence in our regional economy.”

Stephen Langley, Administrator and Venture Capital Loan Fund Co-ordinator, UK Unit, European Commission, said: “I very much welcome the fact that the North East partners have seized European Union funding opportunities to set up a range of financial instruments of such value and significance for the regional economy.

Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East, said: “The North East is well served by our regional development agency. The effort undertaken by One North East to launch the fund demonstrates this. I welcome this practical support for business and the opportunities for job creation.”

City of Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said: “I am really pleased that the European Investment Bank, European Regional Development Fund and the regional development agency have come together to provide these much-needed funds for business development in the North East.

“I know this fund will be of enormous interest to businesses in my constituency and throughout the North East.

“It seems particularly appropriate that the fund is being launched in Durham as it has an emphasis on growing smaller businesses, including technology based companies, and I hope Durham University’s spin-out companies can benefit from it too.  It should, of course, help create jobs for Durham and for the region.”

Andrew Mitchell, Chief Executive of North East Finance which will oversee the day to day running of the fund, said: “These funds will provide local entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses with access to venture capital and expert fund managers right here on their doorstep.”

Companies interested in accessing fund finance can register their details now at www.onenortheast.co.uk/financeforbusinessnortheast and they will be contacted by a fund manager or go to www.northeastfinance.org

For further information contact Gordon Arnott, PR Manager at One North East, on Tel: 0191 229 6309, mobile: 07713 317883 or gordon.arnott@onenortheast.co.uk

Notes to editors

1.                  The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support.  It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.

2.                  The European Investment Fund (EIF), the leading investor in venture capital funds across Europe, will be advising the Finance for Business North East fund on an on-going basis. A short summary about each fund can be found at www.onenortheast.co.uk/financeforbusinessnortheast where companies interested in accessing funding can register their details for contact by fund managers.

3.                  As part of the fund management procurement process, the fund project team drew on the best of existing regional venture capital talent as well as securing financial expertise from across the country to add extra depth and value to the scheme.

4.                  This fund is part of a wider national businesses support package.  One North East will continue to work closely with the Department for Business to ensure that all national and regional interventions are co-ordinated and integrated.

5.                  The ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13 for North East England is managed by One North East on behalf of the European Commission, national government and regional partners.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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