Mercia Fund Managers – which provides loans and equity investment for SMEs and technology firms in the regions – has opened its first office in Newcastle.

The launch of the new office in City Quadrant follows Mercia’s appointment as fund manager for the £27.0million North East Venture Fund, which will invest in SMEs across Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

Mercia is also expanding its team with the appointment of Jan Oosthuizen as Investment Manager. Jan, who joins from PWC, has eight years’ experience in accountancy and finance working in audit and advisory. He has a range of experience from working with owner-managed businesses, equity-backed and large listed businesses across the North, the UK and internationally. .

The North East Venture Fund invests sums of up to £1.0million in firms with high growth potential, in particular those engaged in innovation or developing disruptive business models, and is part of the £120.0million North East Fund, supported by The European Regional Development Fund. Firms which receive investment may also be able to access further sums from Mercia’s other funds under management.

Mercia’s existing investments in the North East include Newcastle-based digital VR specialists Luminous Group and AI software sales company Refract. The Newcastle office will be its ninth in the UK.

Ian Wilson, who leads the North East investment team, said: “Mercia has a strong track record of supporting regional businesses with high growth potential and we are already active in the North East. However with the launch of the Venture Fund and the Newcastle office, we will be stepping up our operations in the region and continuing to build our team. We look forward to working with the North East Fund and other partners to support the next generation of emerging stars.”

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