June 24, 2019 @ 11:50 by Richard Dawson
In its first 12 months, the North East Fund has invested £20 million into 125 of the region’s SMEs.
It is thought that the fund’s investment has also leveraged in an additional £23 million from the private sector, allowing a diverse range of businesses to grow and create new jobs.
A £125 million regional funding programme, the North East Fund has invested in a range innovative projects including £2.6 million in low carbon initiatives and £6 million in manufacturing and engineering companies.
Businesses across County Durham such as Ibex Innovations and Parsons Containers have secured finance from the fund, alongside the likes of AVID Technology and Tranch Networks in Northumberland.
14 businesses based in Sunderland have also secured more than £2 million.
The North East Fund provides finance through five different, targeted funds – development capital, venture, innovation, small loan and capital growth.
Its investments have led to the creation of many new jobs and played a crucial role in the development of university spin out organisations like 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 entrepreneurshipthat 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.”
Commenting on future plans for the North East Fund, Jason added: “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.”