Two well-known North East businesspeople have been recruited to further strengthen the investment committee at regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers
James Robson MBE and Simon Lenney have become part of the team that makes decisions on which investment applications to the Finance For Business North East Fund that NEL manages are going to be successful.
James Robson set up successful Hartlepool-based contract chemical processing company Exwold Technology in 1993, and currently runs Alexander Jewitt & Co, a business advisory partnership providing business support to SMEs from across the region on issues including strategic business planning, market analysis and finance raising.
James is also currently on the leadership team of the NEPIC, is a board member of the Entrepreneurs Forum and sits on the Tees Valley sub-committee of the IoD.
He is also a non-executive director/chairman of four regional SMEs, in several of which he has personal investments, and was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to North East business.
Simon Lenney has more than a quarter of a century’s experience in the banking sector, and was managing partner of Yorkshire Bank’s North East operations until the end of 2015.
He is now head of finance for Union Property Services, a Newcastle-headquartered, family-owned property development, management and investment business which has assets across the UK worth in excess of £400m.
Originally founded in 1989, NEL Fund Managers has made investments in well over 100 regional businesses with a total value of more than £25m the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund over the last six years.
Its 11-strong team recently took control of the business through the formation of an Employee Ownership Trust.
Simon Lenney says: “NEL is synonymous with assisting the growth of North East businesses and I am delighted to now be a part of that team. My knowledge of the region, and my previous experience in the business community, will assist NEL with its wide range of investment decisions.”
James Robson adds: ” My relationship with NEL goes back to the 90s when they invested in a very early stage Exwold, and the support we got then from the team, including our introduction to Mike Hird, who is still Exwold chairman today, was exceptional.
“I am a firm supporter of regional regeneration and it will be a real privilege to work with Yvonne and her team to support North East companies in the coming years. “
Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, says: “Having access to experienced external voices that they trust is crucial for businesses of all kinds, and adding Simon and James to our investment committee will make our decision-making processes even more robust.
“They are both very well connected and respected individuals, and have a depth of knowledge about the North East business community that will contribute strongly to our focus on making intelligent investment decisions.
“Interest from businesses across the region in obtaining a Growth Fund investment has never been higher, and we would strongly encourage any other regional business owners who are considering approaching us to help them implement expansion plans to make doing so a priority.”
Established by holding fund manager North East Finance (NEF) in 2010, the £159.5m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme is a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East of England. They will continue investing until 2016, and aim to support 950 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.