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North East LEP awarded £7.5 million from Regional Growth Fund

JKP Event Sept 2012-207

The North East LEP has been awarded £7.5m from the fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund to boost the resources available to support small and medium sized companies.

Following the LEP’s previous success with a £30m programme from round three of the RGF to support strategic infrastructure development, this programme will fill a gap in the supply of loan and equity finance to SMEs.

Jeremy Middleton, North East LEP Board member with responsibility for access to finance, said: “The decision to support the North East’s small and medium sized businesses with this contribution from the Regional Growth Fund is great news. Discussions have already begun about how to bring other sources of funding to bear so that this £7.5m from the RGF is multiplied many times over and creates even more employment growth. This is an important time for companies seeking to take advantage of growth opportunities but who continue to see constraints on some forms of bank finance.

“Through an extension to the Finance for Business scheme (the ‘ North East JEREMIE’) that North East Finance manages on behalf of the region I hope that many concerns about a shortfall of appropriate finance will be allayed.

“The investments made with this money will be carried out by people based in the region who have an intimate knowledge of our companies and the discretion to make a decision based on that knowledge and their long term relationships with the region’s entrepreneurs.

“As an evergreen fund the money will ultimately be recycled and made available for more companies to grow; to echo Lord Adonis we are on our way to becoming the best place in the UK to start a new business. We will continue to work on funding for those companies and sectors that the JEREMIE cannot reach, including our thriving cultural and creative sector.”

Geoff Hodgson, Chairman of North East Access to Finance said:
“I am delighted to learn that the North East LEP has been successful in its application for funding from the Regional Growth Fund for the extension to the North East JEREMIE programme. This funding is vital in ensuring that North East SMEs continue to have access to finance.

“There is clear evidence that there would be a real detriment to companies, employment growth and the wider access to finance infrastructure if there was any interruption in regional access to finance provision. Through North East Finance we will work closely with stakeholders to ensure this funding is made available to SMEs as soon as possible.”