BUSINESSES on the region’s largest science park aiming to expand or find a route to market are to be joined by one of the UK’s most successful venture capital and intellectual property firms.
IP Group has links to 10 universities across the country and has helped raise more than £370m in funding for its clients in the last decade.
IP Group’s Nick Edgar, who is an investment manager in the firm’s newcastle office, will become a resident expert in NETPark Net’s finance zone and will also hold regular clinics there.
As well as advising business leaders on accessing financial backing, Mr Edgar will also be able to give them an insight into the dynamics of the £25m Finance for Business North East Technology Fund.
IP Group manages the fund which was launched last year with the remit of supporting over 60 high growth companies in the region in the next five years through packages of between £50,000 and £1.25m.
Stewart Watkins, managing director of the County Durham Development Company, which operates NETPark on behalf of Durham County Council, said: “For entrepreneurs working within the science, engineering and technology sectors, accessing the investment needed to get their ideas off the ground is a daunting task.
“Having an expert of Nick’s quality and the backing of the IP Group could significantly boost the future prospects of our member firms as they look to establish themselves and grow. This will be a real help to many of the innovative businesses that are rising out of NETPark, and will help put the region firmly on the science and technology map, in turn helping to create more high-quality job opportunities in the North-east.
“This agreement is also another milestone in the ongoing development of NETPark Net, which continues to go from strength to strength.”
Mr Edgar, who has a wealth of experience in helping develop both start-up and mature businesses, said: “Since IP Group moved into the North-east market earlier this year, we have been keen to unearth new opportunities and contribute to the regional economy, so this agreement allows us to do both.”
NETPark Net offers its members access to lectures, clinics, drop-in surgeries and tailored business advice on a range of relevant subjects including routes to market, innovation management, access to finance and marketing and legal advice.
Its knowledge bank hosts podcasts, event proceedings, opportunities, ask an expert, news and networks.
Companies can also use NETPark Net to open a virtual office with postal address, email, telephone number, hotdesking facilities and use of meeting rooms.