Stockhandler from Evil Technology - In discussionNorth East Finance (NEF), the holding fund manager for the Finance for Business North East programme, is raising awareness of the finance options available to start and grow businesses by providing support to Venturefest North East 2015.

Venturefest North East is a free full-day event which brings together businesses, corporates, investors, academics and advisors with specific expertise in innovation.

The meet the investor part of the event is a unique approach to supporting businesses in becoming investment-ready and finding funding. As well as being introduced to multiple sources of funding, the initiative prepares the attendees’ propositions to make them as attractive as possible to potential funders.

In 2014, 17 of the 51 businesses Venturefest worked with were offered investment. One of those businesses was Middlesbrough-based Evil Technology. The software development company specialises in in retail sector solutions such as Stockhandler, a cloud-based system for retailers who trade across multiple online sales channels including marketplaces, auction sites and ecommerce websites. Projected turnover for the business is approaching £2 million over the next four years and directors, Paul Sheperia and David Bell hope to create a number of high tech jobs.

Paul and David had the idea to build the products but needed help to develop it to a stage where it was ready to take to market. They received a cash boost of £20,000 from the North East Microloan Fund which is administered by fund manager Rivers Capital, on behalf of North East Finance.

Commenting on the success of Evil Technology, Paul said: “The funding received has been integral to moving our business from an idea to reality. When I first looked into the support available it became apparent that the choice of funding was overwhelming. It was difficult to know where to start.

“Attending Venturefest was a real eye-opener. As well as being introduced to key fund managers who matched the right financial support to meet our needs, we received practical help to pitch our business ideas and successfully secure investment.

“We’re attending again this year and hope to raise a further £130,000 to help realise our ambitions for business growth.”

Dawn Dunn, business development manager at North East Finance added: “We’re committed to stimulating an entrepreneurial culture in North East England and it gives us great pleasure to see businesses such as Evil technology benefitting from the funds we have available.

“Having the right finance in place is key to starting and growing a successful business but it is just one piece of the jigsaw. And that’s where events like Venturefest can help. They provide expert help and provide practical solutions for developing and launching products as well as facilitating introductions to key contacts such as our fund managers. They’re a must-attend event for any budding entrepreneurs.”

Venturefest 2015 takes place on 13 October at Gateshead’s Hilton Hotel.