Small businesses set to benefit from £17million Jeremie fund boost

More than 100 North East small businesses are set to benefit after a funding pot was handed a £17million top-up.

Monday, 11th April 2016, 5:00 am
Andrew Mitchell, of North East Finance, with Michelle Rainbow of the North East LEP.

The Finance for Business North East (FBNE) fund – also known as the Jeremie programme – will continue investing in the region through to the end of this year.

The programme, established by North East Finance in 2010, anticipates investing the new money in well over 100 of the region’s most ambitious SMEs during the next nine months.

Sources of funding include £4.5million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) and returns from earlier funds in the region, which has been matched by the European Investment Bank, with a further loan of £8.5million.

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A £9million share of the cash will be invested exclusively within the seven local authority districts covered by the North East LEP, and the remainder will be available to companies across the North East, including the Tees Valley region.

Since its launch, FBNE has provided investment to 850 North East companies, safeguarding or creating more than 6,000 jobs and securing a further £185million of investment.

LEP chairman Andrew Hodgson said: “The programme offers an opportunity for the region’s entrepreneurs to access vital finance to start up or grow their businesses. This closely aligns with the goal in our strategic economic plan to create business growth and we are delighted to support this extension.”

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance, which oversees the fund, added: “We are delighted the North East LEP and other funders recognise the achievements of the fund and the valuable support this finance plays in the growth of local companies, underpinning the wellbeing of the regional economy. This additional finance will allow local fund managers to continue to invest in SMEs around the region.

“The further loan from the EIB has demonstrated their confidence in local delivery and this top-up will allow time to establish a new ring-fenced fund of £120million to invest through to 2021.”