My North East: Joanne Whitfield

July 19, 2016

Joanne Whitfield is FW Capital’s fund manager in the North East and leads a team of investment and portfolio executives who manage the North East Growth Plus Fund and the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund, which provide tailored short and long-term funding to support established businesses accelerate their growth plans.
Joanne has a strong track record of making debt and equity investments in growing businesses and a genuine desire to see ambitous businesses achieve the success they deserve. An experienced professional, she has worked in venture capital for 13 years. Throughout her career she has led investments into companies at all stages of development across a broad range of sectors, backing many successful businesses in the North East

With the exception of three years at university in Leeds, I have lived in Durham all of my life. I am lucky enough to have lots of friends and family close by. I love living fairly centrally in the North East as I work between two offices for FW Capital, one in Newcastle and one in Billingham.

The North East is one of the most vibrant and beautiful parts of the UK. From industrial centres like Newcastle, to World Heritage Sites like Durham, the North East has everything. We’re also known for being really friendly, which is pretty well-deserved in my experience. Coming from the North East, I really love working with ambitious local businesses.

My favourite place to spend some quality leisure time in the North East is at one of the many local music venues. I’m a huge fan of live music. Two favourite venues for me are Hoochie Coochie and Sage Gateshead.

I love Babucho Italian restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside. The food and atmosphere is great, with the added bonus that it is a lovely spot to sit outside in the afternoon if the sun is out.

The visitor attraction the North East should be proudest of is Beamish Museum because it brings North East heritage alive. It appeals to all ages. The constant investment and development of the site and the special events they host all add to the authenticity, making it something to be very proud of.

My favourite place to conduct business away from the office is Blake’s coffeehouse because it does the best breakfast in Newcastle and you generally bump into a few business contacts you hadn’t arranged to meet while you are there.

What ‘makes’ the North East for me is the people, we are generally a friendly breed and do not tend to take ourselves too seriously. In business, it is great to be part of such a close-knit professional community who genuinely enjoy working together to develop the local market even if, in many cases, we are competitors.

My hidden gem in the North East is Crook Hall in Durham City. It is a gorgeous Medieval hall with stunning gardens and views of Durham Cathedral. It is a place that is very special to me as I was married there last year.

I have run the Great North Run 14 times now. It provides me with the motivation to get out and do some training. I love the event, the red arrows, the huge field of runners and all of the brilliant support and bands on the way. I have completed the race mostly in fancy dress for various charities, and I am doing it again this year. It’ll be good training for taking part in the New York Marathon this November.


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