The North East Fund has reported increasing enquiry levels in terms of regional companies seeking funding for growth despite a general lack of certainty amongst UK businesses.
On a recent visit to the region, Federation of Small Business national chair, Mike Cherry, highlighted that the ‘ongoing Brexit debate had led to political paralysis in the UK which had transferred to many businesses holding back on investment.’ He also stated that ‘small businesses are in a state of exasperation’ as Brexit keeps important issues off the agenda and how ‘everything seems to be on hold in so many places, whether it’s investment in business or local authorities investing in whatever they are providing’ for communities.
However, whilst this may be true, the North East Fund is, in contrast, reporting more positive results with continued numbers of regional SMEs seeking investment to grow and expand their businesses, and develop new products and services despite Brexit.
The £120m programme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), has now reached its 150 investment milestone with more than £25m having been allocated by fund managers to local SMEs over the last 18 months.
CEO of the North East Fund, Jason Hobbs, explained, “We are seeing a sustained number of enquiries from local businesses across the region, from Northumberland down to County Durham, seeking investment to grow and this is very encouraging given the current economic climate surrounding Brexit.
“Whilst the FSB is correct in relation to the general feeling within the wider business community, the North East has always had a determination to succeed so we are seeing some great businesses coming through seeking funding. With that in mind, I remain optimistic about the region’s future.
“As a Fund, we are fully committed to supporting the ambition of all businesses in the North East regardless of size or sector. Whilst many SMEs are at the forefront of their industry driving forward innovation on a global stage, an increasing number of our investments have been allocated to smaller, owner-managed enterprises operating in more ‘traditional’ sectors around the region. It is these companies that play an integral role in supply chain industries and the North East economy.
“By enabling access to funding for companies of all sizes, we have delivered significant opportunities with companies pushing ahead with their growth plans. Hitting 150 investments is a great achievement and whilst we have more to come, it proves that access to finance is essential for the region’s SMEs as well as the next generation of entrepreneurs to allow them to continue their growth trajectories.”
The North East Fund is managed by The North East Fund Limited and is available to SMEs located in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham through four specialist fund management organisations; Maven Capital Partners, NEL Fund Managers, Northstar Ventures and Mercia Fund Management.