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16 April 2013

The North West Fund hits the £50million mark

Press Release 16th April 2013

The North West Fund has invested more than £50million since its launch two years ago. The investments, totalling over £54million have been made into more than 180 businesses across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.

The milestone means The Fund has invested over one third of its £155million allocation, with more than two and half years still to invest. Private sector co-funding has contributed £36million, bringing the total amount invested into businesses since December 2010 to £90million. With a strong pipeline of applications, The North West Fund is on track to invest over £34million into growing businesses, by the end of this year.

The North West Fund is a substantial 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 wanting to move to the region. The North West Fund includes dedicated sub-funds for Energy & Environmental, Digital & Creative and Biomedical.

Earlier this year, The Fund completed a reorganisation of its Development Capital Fund, creating two new funds. The North West Fund for Loans Plus, which is managed by FW Capital, offers debt finance, and The North West Fund for Mezzanine, which is managed by Enterprise Ventures, offers businesses mezzanine loans and equity investments. They are designed to be closely tailored to the investment needs of established SMEs based in the North West.

Companies that have benefited from funding over the past two years include:

  • Stockport-based Hughes Safety Showers, which has increased sales by 15 per cent in 2012 and created new jobs following funding from The North West Fund for Loans Plus, which is managed by FW Capital;
  • Carlisle-based renewable energy business EcoLogicLiving, which is expected to boost turnover by 150 per cent after follow-on investment of £150,000 investment from The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental, managed by CT Investment Partners;
  • Liverpool-based Albert Medical Devices, which successfully gained regulatory approval for its product in the urology sector and hired new members of staff following an investment of £50,000 from The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, in November 2011. The company then received a £300,000 follow-on investment from The Fund in 2012;
  • Crewe-based optical coating specialist Power Vision, which is on track to increase sales sevenfold in 12 months following a £500,000 investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by Enterprise Ventures; and
  • Lancaster-based, online specialists Azullo, for their advertising platform, 'Respond' from The North West Fund for Digital & Creative, managed by AXM Venture Capital

Cliff Maylor, chief executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said: "We have been impressed by the quality of the businesses that have applied for and received investment. It highlights the business and entrepreneurial talent in the region.

"The recent restructuring of The Development Capital Fund into two funds, The North West Fund for Loans Plus, managed by FW Capital and The North West Fund for Mezzanine, managed by Enterprise Ventures, has allowed us to provide financing options that better suit the needs of the businesses and nurture growth.

"With a fund structure that better reflects the appetite North West businesses have shown for debt, equity and mezzanine finance, 2013 is off to a great start and first quarter investments have already topped £11million. The six sub-funds have built strong and mutually beneficial relationships with businesses, intermediaries and other key stakeholders and are now using these partnerships to complete some brilliant investments."



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