NEL Fund Managers ends year with 100th North East investment

NEL Fund Managers ends year with 100th North East investment

North East business investor NEL Fund Managers has ended the year by making its 100th investment from one of the two elements of the £120m North East Fund that it manages.

The Newcastle based organisation is responsible for investing the £9m North East Small Loan Fund, which offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000, and is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new jobs in more than 320 SMEs.

NEL began making Small Loan Fund investments in businesses across Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland in spring 2018 and reached its century after investing £15,000 in Gateshead-based web design and digital marketing agency Advertise1’s growth plans.

The agency is scaling up and creating new jobs after securing a £15,000 investment to develop the capacity it needs to take on more and bigger contracts, having received support from NEL and development agency FIRST.

A new marketing manager and client relationship manager have already been brought in, while a new technical recruit is expected to follow in the near future.

Based in the Proto Emerging Technology Centre and with an office in Cumbria, Advertise1 is also planning to go into virtual reality (VR) to provide customers with 360-degree tours on their websites and to produce audio advertising for media such as radio, backing audio for video, app adverts and training videos using its on-site sound studio and in-house editing capabilities.

Founder and managing director Jon Waite said: “The business has grown organically over the last few years and it became clear this year that we’d reached the point where we needed additional resources if it was going to start to realise more of its potential. Bringing in more pairs of hands means we’re able to go for more and bigger contracts, while I’m able to spend more of my time on finding new business opportunities and developing the services that we offer.”

Abigail Cook, investment associate at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Advertise1 has made good progress this year in what has obviously been a difficult climate for many and they’re now well set to take a big step forward in 2021.”

Caroline Theobald, chair of FIRST, says: “We believe that building a successful business is about developing the right skills and growing and then finding support from your network of contacts. The Building Goals event we organised with NEL combined both functions and we’re delighted that it’s achieved this tangible investment result for Advertise1.”

Earlier this year, NEL temporarily increased the maximum Small Loan Fund investment amount from £50,000 to £100,000 in response to the increased growth capital needs of many SMEs resulting from the pandemic. In the summer, it also became an accredited provider for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the North East Fund programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “The Small Loan Fund was designed to have a direct impact on the growth potential of North East SMEs and reaching this point, especially in the current climate, is a real landmark in its continuing progression.

“We’re only at the halfway mark in the lifetime of the two funds that we currently manage, and our continuing mission is to help as many North East firms as we can implement sustainable growth models that enable them to create more and better jobs.”

Source link