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11 February 2014

The North West Fund exceeds 50% investment mark

The Fund has invested more than half of its allocated capital, having supported over 235 businesses with more than £79 million...

The North West Fund has completed two strong consecutive years, after investing £32 million in 2012 and £36 million in 2013.

In total, The Fund has invested more than half of its allocated capital, having supported over 235 businesses with more than £79 million. The investments have been made across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.

Private sector co-funding has contributed a further £46 million, bringing the total value of investments into North West businesses to £125 million.

Through the portfolio of over 235 businesses The Fund has also created or safeguarded more than 2,000 jobs, helping to deliver employment, skills and prosperity for the region. This figure is expected to grow significantly, particularly as 20% of the investments made, have been into new start-ups.  

Through its dedicated sub-funds, investments have been made in a broad range of high quality businesses during 2013. Highlight investments include;

  • Investment of £500,000 from The North West Fund for Venture Capital into Fourteen-IP, a 'management break-out' team who set up their own business providing communications solutions for hotels;
  • A loan of £250,000 from The North West Fund for Loans Plus into JE Wilson, a Kendal-based manufacturer which produces and supplies Kendal Mint Cake, Duncan's of Scotland, Creative Confectionery, Lakeland Maid and Coco Lane brands;  
  • Investment of £900,000 by The North West Fund for Mezzanine into Merseyside manufacturer, ChargePoint Technology which supplies precision containment valves to some of the world's largest pharmaceutical and chemicals businesses;
  • The North West Fund for Digital & Creative's investment into RealityMine, a Manchester-based developer which has built a platform for market researchers to analyse the mobile activity of opted-in panellists; 
  • A £400,000 investment by The North West Fund for Biomedical into Absynth Biologics Ltd, which is developing vaccines and antibodies to treat bacterial infections. The company has also recently been awarded a £1.5 million grant from the Biomedical Catalyst programme as well as receiving investment from Fusion IP; 
  • A £900,000 investment from The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental into Merseyside-based Ultromex, which has developed a market-leading processes for the recovery of high-value metals from electronic and industrial waste products. 

With two years still to invest and a strong pipeline of investments currently being developed The North West Fund is confident that it will achieve investment levels of £41 million during 2014.  It is expected that investments will reach the £100 million mark towards the end of the summer this year.   

Cliff Maylor, chief executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said: "We hope that The Fund's strong investment performance sends out a positive message to entrepreneurs across the region. Although the economic environment remains challenging, we believe that business confidence is building and the appetite for growth is impressive.

"We are extremely pleased to have invested over half of our capital, but we know there is still a lot of work to do over the next two years of this investment cycle. We anticipate reaching the £100 million investment mark in August this year and although we are confident we will achieve this, we would encourage all business owners in the region to think about their growth plans and speak to their advisers or contact our fund managers directly.

"We look forward to making investments into new and existing businesses throughout 2014
and into next year as we approach the end of this programme and begin to look ahead to future programmes."   

The North West Fund is a £155 million evergreen fund supported by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund to supply debt and equity funding to small and medium-sized enterprises in the North West of England, or those relocating to the region.

In the coming months The North West Fund will be launching a new sub-fund, specifically tailored to smaller investments. The North West Fund for Micro Loans will offer businesses in the region the option of finance starting from £25,000 up to £50,000.

Entrepreneurs and intermediaries will have the chance to speak directly to the new fund managers at a launch event, in early 2014. Any businesses hoping to apply will be able to complete an online application form soon.

The micro-finance will support growing businesses looking for smaller investments to drive their growth plans and is part of The North West Fund's on-going recognition of the changing needs and demands of the region's businesses.



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