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23 April 2013

Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the North West

Over £11 million has been invested across the region in 35 new investments and 16 follow-on investments, between January and March 2013


The North West Fund has got off to a flying start in 2013, so far investing over £11 million in 35 new investments and 16 follow-on investments, making this our strongest quarter to date. Overall, since launch in December 2010, The North West Fund has invested more than £54 million in 180 companies across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.

The Fund is well on target to invest £35 million during 2013 as we continue to receive a steady flow of good quality applications from the regions' businesses.

Our fund managers have maintained their momentum from last year and have made some fantastic investments, including:

  • A £250,000 investment by The North West Fund for Digital & Creative into Gateway 3D, a software and solutions business based in Macclesfield which has produced software designed to allow users to view and personalise products in 3D;
  • Investment of £500,000 from The North West Fund for Venture Capital into Ph.Creative, a Merseyside-based creative agency.  The investment will be used to help the company double in size and create 14 new jobs during 2013;
  • A £125,000 investment by The North West Fund for Biomedical into LumbaCurve, based at Liverpool Science Park, to fund its development of products which help relieve lower back pain; and
  • The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental invested £650,000 into a University of Bradford spin-out; Acoustic Sensing Technology, which has developed a product which quickly and efficiently tests the condition of sewers and is based at Sci-Tech, Daresbury.

Introducing more flexible Finance from The North West Fund

The good news for businesses in the North West or those looking to relocate to the region is that we now have a greater range of funding options to help their businesses grow.

In March we launched two new products aimed at established businesses looking to grow and expand.  The Mezzanine Fund, managed by Enterprise Ventures offers loan and equity investments of between £750,000 and £2million and we extended the mandate of The North West Fund for Business Loans so that they can now make loans up to £750k. The changes have been made in recognition of the needs and demands of businesses for different financial products.  The loan fund has been renamed The North West Fund for Loans Plus and along with The Mezzanine Fund is now open to new applications. 

Funding for manufacturing

The manufacturing sector, often in the past described as the backbone of British business has struggled in recent decades, often unable to compete with cheap imports. Manufacturing is a priority sector for the North West economy and is something we have been keen to help support and promote.  Over 20% of the businesses we have invested in so far have a manufacturing element, helping to not only support growth within those businesses but also supporting job creation in the supply chains.

The Fund has invested in some inspiring manufacturers since launch, including a recent investment in Manchester based MHA lighting which makes LED lighting systems; Power Vision, based in Crewe, which develops anti-reflective equipment for glasses; and
emergency shower manufacturer Hughes Safety Showers, based in Stockport.

You can read more about these businesses in this second edition of INSPIRE. These businesses are helping to revitalise the sector which is built on 300 years of industrialisation in the region. Today, the sector is still vital to the North West economy and employs more than 300,000 people. The North West Fund will continue to support businesses and promote growth for manufacturers to help ensure the region enjoys another 300 years of manufacturing excellence. 

If you are interested in finding out more about equity/loan funding to help grow your business please visit: http://www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk/funds

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