A £120m investment fund to drive local growth and job creation will now go live after the agreement was signed on 23 March 2018 by the representatives from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and The North East Fund Limited (TNEFL).
The North East Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will offer a range of investments including equity, debt and mezzanine funding in the North East LEP area, which covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
It will provide financial support for over 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs over the life of the fund and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment over the next decade.
Experienced Fund Managers have been appointed to manage five separate funds which will cater to the needs of businesses at different stages across different sectors. Details of the Fund Managers are expected to be announced in early April.
Helen Golightly, Executive Director for the North East LEP, which led the project team negotiating for the region, said: “We have always believed that retaining investment funds exclusively for North East companies was the right decision and are grateful to the Treasury, EIB and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for their efforts and support to the team.
“This is a fantastic achievement for the North East and all the tireless work behind the scenes has now paid off.”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said: “This is an important step in ensuring that growth and opportunity are spread fairly across the country. The £120m investment will be a big boost to small businesses operating in the North East, driving productivity and bolstering the Northern Powerhouse’s economy.
“By generating thousands of new jobs and upskilling people across the region, the positive impact of this fund will be felt for generations to come.”
Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, said: “With over £120m of investment flowing into the region, strengthening local businesses and creating thousands of new jobs, the North East Fund signals another major economic boost to the Northern Powerhouse.
“It will provide welcome finance for smaller businesses across the North East to reach their full growth potential while bolstering the Northern Powerhouse’s reputation as a world-beating location to start and grow your business.”
Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice President, said: “The North East Fund will help to unlock entrepreneurial drive and innovation across Northumbria, Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham. The EIB is pleased to provide £120m to support this unique initiative that will create thousands of new jobs and improve skills across the North East and replicates the proven success of similar investment across Europe.”
Andrew Mitchell, Chief Executive of the North East Fund, said: “This new Fund is a feather in the cap for the North East and a vote of confidence in our economic potential. The North East LEP’s backing has been critical to getting this across the line and we can now focus on investing on the brightest and best businesses in the region.”