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22 May 2012

Minister backs The North West Fund for Digital & Creative

Press Release 21st May 2012

Government minister Ed Vaizey has offered his backing to The North West Fund for Digital & Creative during a visit to the region.

Mr Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, was hosted by AXM, which manages The North West Fund for Digital & Creative, at the Manchester offices of leading law firm Weightmans LLP.

During his visit, Mr Vaizey was briefed on the £15million Fund, which invests in creative businesses in the North West and those relocating to the region. He also met some of The Fund's portfolio businesses.

The North West Fund for Digital & Creative is part of the £185m North West Fund, financed by The European Regional Development Fund and The European Investment Bank.

Ed Vaizey said: "The digital and creative industries are a fundamental part of our economy and a key strength of the UK. I am impressed by what I saw and heard today at The North West Fund and AXM. There is a real passion among entrepreneurs in this part of the UK to set up and grow digital and creative businesses."

Andy Leach, chief executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said: "We were pleased to welcome Ed Vaizey to the North West and tell him about some of the success stories we have had in the digital and creative sector. I am confident he went away fully up to speed with how The North West Fund is inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs."

David Smith, of AXM and fund manager of The North West Fund for Creative & Digital, said: "We have already made nine investments in the North West and having some of our portfolio companies along helped demonstrate to Ed the appetite for growth among digital and creative firms in the North West. We are delighted we had the chance to show how buoyant the region's sector is."

John Schorah, partner and director of the commercial business line at Weightmans, said: "We are heavily involved in the creative industries in the North West and with the impetus from the arrival of the BBC to Salford and The North West Fund for Digital & Creative now up and running, I am confident we will see this sector grow in our region."

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