Programme reaches milestone after providing 500th investment in region

A FUND set up to support North East SMEs has made its milestone 500th investment to a County Durham coffee and flavour infusion firm.

A FUND set up to support North East SMEs has made its milestone 500th investment to a County Durham coffee and flavour infusion firm.

The £125m Finance for Business North East programme, a suite of seven funds managed by North East Finance, has now invested £70m and supported 500 small and medium enterprises across the region since its inception in 2010.

The programme of seven investment funds was the first of its kind in the UK when it launched three years ago and it will continue to invest in SMEs with the objective of supporting over 800 businesses and creating more than 5,000 new jobs by the end of 2014.

Each fund supports businesses at different stages of growth, which are from the region or moving to the region to stimulate economic development.

Coffee and flavour infusion company Beanie the Flavour Co, is the 500th business to receive funding through the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund, and the Newton Aycliffe company plans to use the cash to expand its range of products and explore new opportunities.

John Evans of Beanie the Flavour Co, said: “We came up with a good idea, we developed it on our own and put a lot of money into it but there comes a time when you need additional funds.

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance says: “We are very pleased to have reached such a significant milestone. The funds are on target at this stage of the programme and we will work hard to ensure a continued level of success.

“This investment finance really does make a positive impact on the regional economy, and we would actively encourage businesses at every stage of development to consider how the Finance For Business Funds could help them grow.”

Meanwhile, four months have now passed since the Journal opened its own £30m Let’s Grow fund to the North East, our growth fund pot hailed as the region’s most important grant pot, coming at a time when accessing finance is harder than ever.

The Government-backed scheme aims to create or safeguard around 3,500 jobs by helping firms expand.

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