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29 August 2012

John McGuire, Interim CEO NWBF

Another productive quarter for The North West Fund which saw the completion of our 100th investment...

John McGuire (head shot)As Interim CEO of North West Business Finance, managers of The North West Fund, I am delighted to report a very active summer quarter, during which we celebrated our 100th investment.

Having past the century milestone and with 109 investments completed to the end of July, The Fund has invested just over £30million since December 2010, with more than £20million raised in co-funding from the private sector.

All six of our sub-funds have completed some great investments across the region, including:


  • A £225,000 loan by The North West Fund for Business Loans, managed by FW Capital, into retail IT supplier Azurri, based in Bolton, to expand its sales operations and create new jobs;
  • A significant investment by The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by EV, into Salford Quays-based App55, an online payment provider, to develop a new smartphone, tablet and computer payment product;
  • A £650,000 investment into commercial cleaning business Mynt Facilities Services, which is moving to Liverpool, by The North West Fund for Development Capital, managed by YFM Equity Partners, to help further develop its services;
  • A six-figure investment by The North West Fund for Digital & Creative, managed by AXM Venture Capital, into Liverpool-based Setgo, a software firm, to help the business develop further software solutions;
  • A £750,000 investment by The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, into Zilico, a company moving to Manchester that manufactures a device to help with diagnosing cervical cancer;
  • An investment by The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental into Manchester-based PlaceFirst, an energy and regeneration business, which was The North West Fund's 100th investment.

Importantly, just over 18 months into the life of The Fund, our investments are bearing fruit. As you will see in our Progress Stories section, our portfolio companies are increasing sales, creating jobs and bringing exciting new products to market. And this is where The North West Fund really comes into its own. The key word is 'investment': our fund managers are responsible for substantial pots of money, but the emphasis is on nurturing our portfolio businesses and helping them succeed. We are proud of the very real impact The Fund is beginning to have on the North West's economy.

Encouragingly, also, we are confident about the remainder of the year. Our pipeline of forthcoming investments is strong and there is a good spread across our six sub-funds. The three sector funds, for Biomedical, Digital & Creative and Energy & Environmental, continue to prove popular, particularly for those looking to relocate to the North West. And the managers of the Development Capital, Venture Capital and Business Loans funds are busy with enquiries from entrepreneurs who want to start or grow businesses and prosper.

Elsewhere in the newsletter, we have a run-down of all the great events we were involved in during the last quarter, including exciting partnerships with the Institute of Directors North West and Access2Finance, as well as our own inaugural Colours event, which brought together 160 of our entrepreneurs, fund managers and stakeholders. Meanwhile, Adam Workman, of CT Investment Partners, which manages The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental, explains how the North West could become a leading region in Europe for the energy economy.

Enjoy the newsletter and thanks for your interest in The North West Fund. We look forward to updating you again in the autumn.

John McGuire signature 

John McGuire

Interim chief executive of North West Business Finance Ltd, the company set up to manage The North West Fund

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