A business support fund that helped companies create more than 2,000 new jobs in the North East has been extended until the end of the the year, with an extra £10m added to the funding pot.
The North East Fund had originally been due to come to a close at the end of March, with £120m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund to help companies grow and create jobs. But now an extra £10m has been added to the money available to local companies and it may be set to continue into 2024.
The fund was originally launched in 2018 to invest in companies in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and County Durham. So far it has invested around £100m in 400 companies, helping them to secure an additional £200m from other partners.
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North East Fund chief executive Jason Hobbs said: “It is great to hit the £100m milestone, and even better that we will continue to provide support throughout the rest of the year. Since we launched, businesses have had to deal with economic turbulence from multiple causes, including Brexit and the Covid pandemic, and our funding has helped many companies to continue to grow and create jobs.
“We invest in companies which are helping to combat climate change and other environmental issues such as Seaham-based, Earthshot Prize finalist Low Carbon Materials, Washington electric motor manufacturer Advanced Electric Machines and Gateshead based white goods recycler Gap Group. We have supported many companies in the region’s thriving digital and biotechnology sectors as well as in manufacturing and service sectors.
“We can provide loans from £10,000 to £1m+ equity investments and are looking to deploy around £30m over the rest of the year – so I would encourage North East companies looking for finance to sustain and grow their activities to get in touch.
“We provide funding on a commercial basis so that it can be recycled to provide support to future entrepreneurs in the region. Over £30m of returns have been generated to date, and this means that we expect to be able to continue investing into 2024 and beyond, after the European Regional Development Fund has come to an end.”
The North East Fund is supported with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. The fund had a record breaking year in 2022 when it completed £28.5m of investments.
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