The £185m North West Fund goes live
North West Business Finance Ltd (NWBF) with support from the
Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) the European Regional
Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank is today
(20th December 2010) ready to make investments from The North West
The North West Fund is a new £185m evergreen fund for Northwest
businesses (previously known as the Venture Capital and Loan Fund
or VCLF) and is one of the largest public sector funds of its kind
in Europe and the largest in the UK. Between 2010 and 2015 the Fund
is expected to create/safeguard almost 14,000 jobs and improve the
economic performance of England’s Northwest with an estimated GVA
increase of £700m.
The North West Fund is the umbrella name for the 6 funds that
are now available to Northwest businesses in the form of debt,
equity and quasi-equity. These funds are managed by 6 fund managers
under contract with NWBF. NWBF oversees the delivery of the Fund,
under the European Investment Bank’s Joint European Resources for
Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) Initiative, in England’s
Initially, £170m of The North West Fund will be allocated to the
6 Fund Managers, The Fund Managers then have a mandate to invest
their allocation into the specific product or sector they manage,
before 31st December 2015. The £15m remaining will be available for
further allocation and investment through to the end of 2015. Such
further allocations will be made as investment needs become more
The 6 funds and fund managers are:
- Development Capital Fund
Manager: YFM Private Equity
- Business Loan Fund
Manager: FW Capital Ltd
- Venture Capital Fund
Manager: Enterprise Ventures Ltd
- Biomedical Fund
Manager: Spark Impact Ltd
- Energy & Environmental Fund
Manager: CT Investment Partners LLP
- Digital & Creative Fund
Manager: AXM Venture Capital Ltd
The North West Fund is made up of a £92.4m ERDF grant, making it
the biggest ERDF project of the 2007-13 programme, and a £92.4m
loan from the EIB. In addition to this funding, the 6 Fund Managers
appointed, have been targeted with securing over £200m of
co-investment capital from a wide range of sources including;
finance angels, banks, pension funds, venture capital, private
equity investors, and other private funds. It is expected that this
initiative will generate total funding in excess of £400m.
In total, the fund managers will operate 13 offices across the
Northwest and, at peak, are expected to employ 48 (FTE)
professional staff based in the region focused on deploying and
managing The North West Fund.
Andy Leach, Chief Executive Officer, NWBF:
"I am delighted that I can, at last, confirm that The North West
Fund is open for business. Whilst it has taken longer than expected
to establish, I believe that The North West Fund is now in a
position to provide investment capital to a range of businesses
across the region at a critical time. This funding will allow these
businesses to deliver their own growth plans in, what continue to
be, challenging economic times when the availability of alternative
funding remains tight.
"Having worked closely with our six Fund Managers over recent
months, I am confident that they have the requisite expertise and
understanding of the region and their targeted sectors, to ensure
that The North West Fund delivers an enduring legacy."
Over the past 2 years the NWDA has led the development and
creation of The North West Fund from drawing-board to launch and
will continue to support it until the closure of the Agency in
Robert Hough, Chairman, NWDA:
"The combination of the Agency’s expertise and knowledge has
delivered a significant evergreen fund which will help hundreds of
businesses to grow and is one of the major legacy projects the
Agency is leaving for the region.
"The NWDA has worked extremely hard on this complex project over
many months with various bodies in the UK and Europe to secure this
vital fund for the Northwest. The North West Fund is an important
initiative that will leverage hundreds of millions of pounds of
private sector investment and, as an evergreen fund, will benefit
businesses in our region for many years to come."
Simon Brooks, Vice President responsible for the United
Kingdom, European Investment Bank:
"The European Investment Bank is pleased to support this
flagship SME finance initiative to benefit companies across the
North West. Supporting small and medium sized companies is a key
priority for the EIB and the Jeremie initiative is one of the
pillars for this role in the UK."
Liz Meek, Chair, ERDF Programme Monitoring
"It’s really important that business has access to this kind of
support and I’m delighted that The Fund is now up and running.
Along with initiatives like the Regional Growth Fund, The North
West Fund will give the private sector, and especially small and
growing businesses, the help it needs at a time when help is needed
Mark Prisk, Business Minister:
"It’s great news that The North West Fund is now open for
business and ready to start investing. Along with the Government’s
£1.4bn Regional Growth Fund and other economic development
initiatives, this fund will play an important role in boosting the
prosperity of local businesses; creating new private sector jobs
and driving economic growth in communities across the North
The North West Fund is now live and applications can be made
on-line at www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk.
An event to mark the official launch of The North West Fund will
take place in the New Year.
NWBF would like to thank legal advisors Mace & Jones, who
acted for them in the establishment of The North West Fund.
*The North West Fund for Business Loans has now been replaced by
The North West Fund for Loans Plus.