The Government has endorsed plans to create a £125 million “super fund” for technology businesses, startups and small enterprises in the North East.
The Treasury’s approval of the JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative) venture capital fund paves the way for financing to go live early next year.
The first of its type in England, the JEREMIE fund will provide loans and equity investments into 850 firms, initially over a five-year period, and is anticipated to create more than 5,000 jobs.
“Treasury endorsement of our plans is an important milestone as it endorses One North East’s funding into the scheme and allows us to proceed with the next stage of the project including the process to appoint fund managers,” said Malcolm Page, One North East Deputy Chief Executive, who leads the team of financial experts who have spent the last 18 months putting plans in place for the fund.
“We are still very much on course to open the fund for business early next year and this will ensure that the new funds are immediately on stream as the existing schemes in the region come to a close,” Page continued. “The investments from JEREMIE will be specifically targeted to create new jobs, protect existing jobs and help firms with plans to grow, to take advantage of the economic upturn when it arrives.”
The JEREMIE fund is set to include £62.5 million from the One North East and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £62.5 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Finance will be pumped into North East firms in three specific areas: new start ups, technology-based businesses and growing smaller businesses. Any returns on investments will be channelled back into JEREMIE to support more regional firms in future.
The JEREMIE fund continues One North East’s track record of helping companies access finance, such as topping up the North East Investment and Co-Investment Funds by a total of £6.25 million to continue providing vital access to finance for growing firms during 2009.
JEREMIE will bring together existing North East public sector venture capital funds into one pot, providing valuable extra finance through ERDF and EIB funding and widening out the scope to help more firms looking for investment in their businesses.
The ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13 managed by One North East is bringing over £250 million to the North East region for investment in innovation, business support and enterprise.