A regional investment fund launched to fast-track economic growth has committed more than £100m to North East firms.
The £125m Finance for Business North East programme, a groundbreaking suite of seven funds managed by North East Finance, reached the milestone when Newcastle-based energy services firm KNW received £400,000 from the Growth Fund, which is managed by NEL Fund Managers.
Accountancy firm UNW brokered the deal on behalf of KNW, which will use the funds as working capital as it looks to ramp up revenues, grow the business and take on extra staff. Established in 1980, the Newcastle-based company installs insulation, efficient central heating and a range of renewable technologies in homes across the region.
Ross Armstrong, who became managing director of KNW in 2012, said: “We are changing the focus of our business and this investment marks a major milestone as we continue to develop the company’s long-term growth plan. It will give us extra financial clout as we look to grow sales and help our customers to make energy-efficient home improvements that will enable them to lower their fuel bills.”
Since its launch in 2010, the FFBNE programme has provided debt and equity funding to around 625 SMEs, creating or safeguarding more than 3,500 jobs. Investments have been made in companies across a wide range of sectors, including bio-technology, manufacturing, engineering and renewable energy. The money has been invested in firms across the region, from the Tweed to the Tees.
Jason Hobbs, finance director at North East Finance, said: “This fund is designed to boost the growth of local companies and oil the wheels of the regional economy. The fact that we have reached this magnificent milestone highlights a growing confidence and appetite for investment in the business community.
“Money is still available from the Finance for Business North East programme and could provide the ideal boost for businesses that require additional investment.”
The KNW deal was the 88th investment completed from the Growth Fund by NEL.
Barrie Hensby, chief executive at NEL, said: “The Finance for Business North East initiative has made a massive difference to the investment options available for firms across the region and its positive impact on our economy is only really just beginning to be felt.