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NW Fund starting to fly says Leach

22 March 2012

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THE £185m North West Fund is gaining momentum with deal completions on track to hit 80 by the end of this month.

Andy Leach, the chief executive of North West Business Finance, which runs the North West Fund, told a dinner for SMEs organised by headhunting firm Odgers Interim, that since launch his team have received more than 1,800 applications for funding worth more than £600m.

He said deal flow was picking up to such an extent that by the end of April the Fund - which offers SMES loans, mezzanine finance, debt and equity from £50,000 to £2m - will have done more deals in 2012 than in all of 2011.

He said: "Nothing creates confidence better than doing deals and we're making good progress. Our aim is to build, support, fund and nurture SMEs to make this region more sustainable.

"We want the region to be more resilient and less susceptible to shocks that may come from a decision taken in another country which could affect jobs and devastate a town or community in the North West."

The current investment tally is £15m, with 65 businesses from across a range of sectors receiving support.

Mr Leach added the Fund had secured £18m of co-investment in addition to the £15m of direct funding, and the current portfolio has the potential for a further £10m of follow-on investment to support further growth and jobs.

He said: “Our fund managers have strong pipelines of quality deals that will help the North West raise its game and create sustainable growth in key sectors.

“We are also seeing first-hand a new generation of entrepreneurs being inspired by these opportunities for growth. This is the legacy we are confident of creating for the Fund.”

Cheshire entrepreneur Chris Hook, who founded and built up a gluten free food business Nutrition Point until its sale to Italian group Dr. Schär, spoke about the important role interim directors can play in a business.

Mr Hook is now chairman of Charbrew, a North West specialist tea business, and is also running Bolton bakery group Warburton's Free From snack range.

Alex Lenihan, consultant at Odgers Interim SME (North West), added: "Accessing finance is a major obstacle so it’s fantastic to have something like The North West Fund right here in the region.

"It was positive to hear the milestones that the Fund has already achieved and we’d encourage any business to apply.”

The North West Fund operates via six sub-funds focused on Business Loans, Development Capital, Venture Capital, Energy and Environmental, Digital and Creative and Biotechnology.

Odgers Interim are UK leaders in Interim Management solutions for the Commercial Sector. We have offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Cardiff as well as over 50 offices globally. We are the only Interim Management providers who are part of a top tier international executive search firm. We work closely with our executive search colleagues to find candidates who can offer short term solutions with long term benefits.

Categories: SME


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