NWDA’s £185m venture fund launched

Venture fund managers appointed to handle the North West Fund established by the North West Development Agency will open eight new offices in the region.

The precise locations of new offices have not yet been decided, an NWDA spokesman said, but he added that 40% of the offices and staff managing the new fund would be based in Merseyside.

In total six firms have won contracts to manage individual sector-specific funds under the umbrella North West Fund, which is the largest public fund of its kind in the UK.

The fund is expected to lever in private match-funding taking the total investment pot over £400m. The NWDA aims to create or keep 14,000 jobs through the fund and generate over £700m annual productivity in the region by 2015. The six fund managers and their allocations are:

Fund Manager

Name of Fund

Fund Committed

Offices in the region new and (existing)

Employees dedicated to The North West Fund (FTE)

YFM Private Equity

Development Capital




FW Capital

Business Loan




Enterprise Ventures






Spark Impact





CT Investment Partners LLP

Energy & Environmental




AXM Venture Capital

Digital & Creative






13 (8 of which will be new)


 European flagThe North West Fund is made up of a £92.4m European Regional Development Fund grant, making it the biggest ERDF project of the 2007-13 programme, and a £92.4m loan which is expected from the European Investment Bank. In addition to this funding, the six fund managers appointed, have been targeted with securing over £200m of co-investment capital from a wide range of sources including; finance angels, banks, pension funds, venture capital, private equity investors, and other private funds. It is expected that this initiative will generate total funding in excess of £400m. The fund was established under the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative (JEREMIE).

Mark Prisk, minister for business, said: "In these difficult times, focusing support on the sectors that are able to create jobs and opportunities is vital for stimulating growth and getting our regions on track for recovery. It is one of Government's key priorities to ensure that this North West Fund and all other national and regional provision in future will become part of a strong, single and coherent offer of finance and investment for dynamic and growing businesses."

In total, the appointed fund managers will operate 13 offices across the North West and are expected to employ 48 professional staff.

Robert Hough, chairman of the NWDA, said: "The NWDA has been working hard with various bodies in the UK and Europe to secure this vital fund for the Northwest. It has taken longer than originally anticipated, but it has certainly been worth the wait. Next month North West businesses will have access to one of the largest support funds of its kind in Europe. It is an important initiative that will leverage hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment and, as an evergreen fund, will benefit businesses in our region for many years to come."

John Jones, partner and head of corporate finance at chartered accountants and business advisors, Beever and Struthers, said: "The announcement of this funding which will safeguard or create thousands of jobs in the North West over coming years is a fantastic boost for the region in these uncertain times and offers businesses a real opportunity to access alternative sources of finance. What we really need to see now is the funds starting to flow as soon as possible to inject some much needed liquidity into the market and support the many fundamentally sound existing businesses and new business propositions that have struggled to obtain finance over recent months."

The North West Fund will officially go live and will be ready to take applications between July and August 2010. An event to mark the official launch of The North West Fund will take place in September.

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