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SME fund programme celebrates milestone 500th investment

A multi-million North East fund to support SMEs is celebrating a milestone after making its 500th investment.

The £125m Finance for Business North East programme has invested a total of £70m since its launch in 2010.

County Durham-based coffee and flavour infusion company, Beanie the Flavour Co, is the 500th business to receive funding.

The investment, through the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund, will enable the Newton Aycliffe company to expand its range of products and explore new opportunities.

The Finance for Business North East programme consists of seven investment funds and was the first of its kind in the UK when it launched.

Each fund supports businesses at different stages of growth, which are from the region or moving to the region to stimulate economic development.

Over 800 new jobs have been created and a further 1,600 have been safeguarded by the programme with investments into sectors such as healthcare, waste, bio-technology, manufacturing, engineering and green businesses.

This success is underlined by the additional £75m of private sector investment that has been secured to support deals.

John Evans of Beanie the Flavour Co said: “We came up with a good idea, we developed it on our own and put a lot of money into it but there comes a time when you need additional funds.

“We are already listed as a supplier for one of the top four major multiples and are now working to launch new products which included iced coffee,

The programme will continue to invest in SMEs with the objective of supporting over 800 businesses and creating more than 5,000 new jobs by the end of 2014.

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance said: “We are very pleased to have reached such a significant milestone.

“The funds are on target at this stage of the programme and we will work hard to ensure a continued level of success.

“This investment finance really does make a positive impact on the regional economy, and we would actively encourage businesses at every stage of development to consider how the Finance For Business Funds could help them grow.”

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