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North West Fund hits £54m investment mark

Simon Donohue

The North West Fund has invested more than £54m in 180 businesses since its launch two years ago – around one third of its £155m allocation.

Private sector co-funding has contributed a further £36m, taking the total invested into businesses since December 2010 to £90m.

The fund will continue to make investments for a further two and half years.

The North West Fund is a substantial evergreen fund supported by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund to supply debt and equity funding to small and medium-sized enterprises in the North West of England, or those wanting to move to the region.

It comprises dedicated sub-funds for Energy & Environmental, Digital & Creative and Biomedical.

Earlier this year, The Fund completed a reorganisation of its Development Capital Fund, creating two new funds.

The North West Fund for Loans Plus, which is managed by FW Capital, offers debt finance, and The North West Fund for Mezzanine, which is managed by Enterprise Ventures, offers businesses mezzanine loans and equity investments.

They are designed to be closely tailored to the investment needs of established SMEs based in the North West.

Companies that have benefited from funding include Carlisle-based renewable energy business EcoLogicLiving, which is expected to boost turnover by 150% after follow-on investment of £150,000 investment from The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental, managed by CT Investment Partners.

Cliff Maylor, chief executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said: "We have been impressed by the quality of the businesses that have applied for and received investment.

"It highlights the business and entrepreneurial talent in the region.

"The recent restructuring of The Development Capital Fund into two funds, The North West Fund for Loans Plus, managed by FW Capital and The North West Fund for Mezzanine, managed by Enterprise Ventures, has allowed us to provide financing options that better suit the needs of the businesses and nurture growth.

"With a fund structure that better reflects the appetite North West businesses have shown for debt, equity and mezzanine finance, 2013 is off to a great start and first quarter investments have already topped £11m.

"The six sub-funds have built strong and mutually beneficial relationships with businesses, intermediaries and other key stakeholders and are now using these partnerships to complete some brilliant investments."

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