The North East Fund has invested £20m and leveraged £23m more in its first twelve months, helping more than 125 SMEs located throughout the region to grow their businesses and create new jobs.
Recently marking its first anniversary, the £120m regional funding programme has delivered significant investments in a range of ground-breaking and innovative projects including £2.6m in low carbon initiatives and £6m in manufacturing and engineering companies.
21 SMEs in County Durham, including Ibex Innovations and Parsons Containers, and more recently, insurance platform company, Honcho Markets, have received approximately £2.6m in funding. 14 businesses in Sunderland have secured in the region of £2m and Northumberland companies, including AVID Technology, Boiler Plan and Trench Networks, have secured a total of £4m of investment from the North East Fund. Providing access to finance through five different funds; the development capital, venture, innovation, small loan and capital growth funds, the North East Fund has also helped to create new jobs in well-established businesses including Eminent Engineering and UK Metalcraft, as a direct result of investment received. This is in addition to delivering funding to spin out organisations from the region’s universities such as Hexis Lab and Magnitude Biosciences.
Jason Hobbs, CEO of The North East Fund, commented, “We’ve made a really positive start since our launch last year. We have set ourselves a target of investing in 600 businesses over the course of five years from a diverse range of industries, and given the success of our predecessor, the JEREMIE Fund, we can show just how important funds like the North East Fund are to our region and what they can achieve. The JEREMIE Fund invested £160m, leveraged in a further £300m of private capital, supported over 900 businesses and either created or safeguarded some 8,000 jobs. If we can emulate that success, then we will certainly have achieved our objectives.
“We are seeing so many great businesses pushing ahead with their growth plans that it is impossible not to feel optimistic about the future of the North East economy, despite the national uncertainty, given the talent and entrepreneurship that exists here. We are fully committed to supporting their ambition and backing home-grown companies, many of whom are at the forefront of their industry or operating successfully on a global scale.
“The next four years of the Fund presents a wonderful opportunity for these businesses and we must maintain the momentum which has been created for them. Access to finance is essential for the region’s SMEs as well as the next generation of entrepreneurs to allow those who have received funding to continue their growth trajectories.