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25 September 2014

The North West Fund passes £100 million milestone

Press Release 25th September 2014

  • The North West Fund exceeded the £100 million investment mark in September 2014
  • The Fund finished the first half of 2014 with a strong investment performance, investing £18 million in six months
  • More than 300 North West businesses have been supported with funding
  • Over 2,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded
  • The Fund continues to see a healthy pipeline of investments for the rest of 2014 and into 2015

The North West Fund has passed another investment milestone, having now invested over £100 million in more than 300 businesses. The investments have been made across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria.

Private sector co-funding has contributed a further £50 million, bringing the total value of investments into North West businesses to £150 million.

Through the portfolio of over 300 businesses The Fund has also created or safeguarded more than 2,500 jobs, helping to deliver employment, skills and prosperity for the region. This figure is expected to grow significantly, particularly as more than 20% of the investments made, have been into new start-ups.

The £155 million investment fund, which is supported by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund, provides debt and equity funding of between £25,000 - £2 million to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North West of England.

Earlier this month The Fund announced the launch of its Micro Fund, a new sub-fund specifically tailored to smaller investments. The North West Fund for Micro Loans is open to businesses in the region looking grow, with finance starting from £25,000 up to £50,000.

Through The North West Fund's dedicated sub-funds, investments have been made in a
broad range of high quality businesses during 2014. Highlight investments include;

  • A £150,000 investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital into Liverpool-based GeoGrafi which specialises in geospatial and mapping technologies.
  • The North West Fund for Mezzanine's £1 million investment into Winning Pitch, the rapidly growing national coaching and business support specialist, headquartered in the North West. 
  • A £750,000 loan from The North West Fund for Loans Plus into Cheadle-based leading hair extensions supplier, Beauty Works.
  • Manchester-based Formisimo, which measures and analyses consumer behaviour in online checkouts and online forms, secured an investment of £350,000 from The North West Fund for Digital & Creative.
  • Merseyside-based ULEMCo, which retrofits diesel transit vans to enable them to run on commercially available hydrogen secured £150,000 from The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental. 
  • A £150,000 investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical into Gelexir Healthcare, a spin-out from the University of Manchester. They have developed a novel and proprietary injectable biomaterial technology for the treatment of chronic lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease (DDD).

With just over 15 months still to invest and a strong pipeline of investments currently being developed, it is anticipated that The Fund will achieve investment levels of between £30 million and £35 million during 2014. 

Cliff Maylor, chief executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said: "We are extremely pleased to have reached this significant milestone. £100 million is an impressive figure but we are equally proud of the fact that this has been
invested into more than 300 growing businesses in the region.

"For us, this shows that the appetite for growth in the North West is strong.  We know there is still a lot of work to do over the final year of this investment cycle and our fund managers are working hard to meet all of our output targets. 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.

"The final year of investing for this programme is hugely important. We must invest the remaining capital before 31st December 2015.

"Our funding is already having a positive impact on the region, in terms of economic growth, jobs and prosperity. We look forward to making investments into new and existing businesses into next year, as we approach the end of this programme and look ahead to future programmes." 

Mike Blackburn, Chair of the Greater Manchester LEP, commented:  "The North
West Fund has supported a fantastic range of projects in Greater Manchester across creative, digital and health sectors to name just a few.  IT firms DataCentred and Formisimo are among those who have already benefitted from the scheme, as are the University of Manchester's biomedical spin-out, Gelexir Healthcare.

"£100 million is an incredible milestone to achieve and distribution of this fund is sure to have a valuable impact on the local economy, nurturing those innovative organisations that have the very best potential for growth and job creation."  

Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP, said: "Finance for business growth in Liverpool City Region (LCR) is an important priority for LCR LEP.  The North West Fund represents a significant resource for local businesses and we are committed to working closely with The North West Fund to maximise the uptake of their available funds in the City Region. We are pleased to see an acceleration of take-up over the last 18 months and would wish to see this trend continue over the next 18 months."

Christine Gaskell, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are delighted that the North West Fund has reached this £100 million investment milestone. Businesses in the North West are the lifeblood of our economy and it is essential that we provide them with the necessary business and financial support to enable them to grow and help to shape their future.

"By investing in more than 300 businesses, The North West Fund has identified the value of these businesses no matter how large or small, to our region. We look forward to seeing how these investments impact on our economy in the near future."

Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "The North West Fund is bringing new jobs and growth to Lancashire, while also pushing forward innovation and developing entrepreneurial talent.  We're pleased that more than 35 businesses in the county have already got funding and we'll continue working to get more money coming to Lancashire in the future.

"Alongside other funding that's coming into the county, through projects like our Growth
Deal and the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, this is proving to be an exciting time for the economy as a whole.  This amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds that are directly helping businesses, including growing the local skills base and creating the right conditions for business to flourish."



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