North-east firms ‘to receive venture capital investment’

Venture capital funds are poised to invest in the north-east's small companies, the area's regional development agency reveals.

One North East explains that two venture capital firms have channelled £68 million into the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises through four funds, with three of these being extended over 2009.

NorthStar Equity Investors runs the £23 million North East Co-Investment Fund, which specialises in high-growth investments worth up to £1.5 million, and the £10 million Proof of Concept fund that offers entrepreneurs financing of up to £90,000.

Marion Bernard, chief executive of the firm, comments: ‘We are investing in the businesses of the future in groundbreaking technologies and we eagerly anticipate new deals over the coming year as we embrace 2009.’

In addition, NEL Fund Managers, which runs the £30 million North East Investment Fund and the £5 million NEL Growth Fund, reveals it will channel a further £3 million into companies in the region.

Malcolm Page, One North East deputy chief executive, points out that the current economic climate makes access to finance more vital for growing firms and says he looks forward to another year of investment from the venture capital funds.

Earlier this month, Natwest and RBS revealed £250 million has been earmarked for loans to small businesses in the north-east, as part of a UK-wide £3 billion finance package.

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VCs and Venture Capital