Left to right: Simon Green, Hans Möller, Gillian Marshall, Ross Smith and Simon Hanson
Jamie Hardesty

North East business organisations band together to support finance accessibility

In response to the Government scrapping its Business Growth Service, which ended its national support programme following the Spending Review in 2015, North East organisations are working together to develop a new way to help companies gain access to finance.

The team that delivers the region’s annual innovation conference, Venturefest North East, is working with the North East LEP and North East Finance to design a new programme of investment support that culminates in a major annual event.

Details of the programme are currently being finalised and will be announced in April when tickets will also be released for the inaugural event on 21 June 2016 at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham.

The programme has been developed with business input from the start. Business networks including the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Entrepreneurs’ Forum are involved to ensure the creation of a solution suited to the needs of the region’s businesses.

Simon Hanson, North East Development Manager at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Without access to funding our members and smaller businesses cannot achieve their potential to grow their businesses, create new jobs and new wealth for the region.

“The development of this programme is a response to this need and will simplify the investment process for the huge number of business that have ambitions to develop.”

Support provided by the initiative will be dedicated to making it easier for companies of all sizes and sectors to secure the funding they need to develop ideas, innovate and grow. Businesses will receive expert advice to make their propositions as attractive as possible to investors and will gain access to a wide range of funding sources.

Hans Möller, Innovation Director at the North East LEP, said: “The development of this new programme represents a positive, collaborative move by the region to solve an issue shared by the whole business community.

“It demonstrates how the North East is leading the way in shaping its future by designing a solution to the challenges faced. This will really help widen access to funding as well as help SMEs to develop and grow.”

Other partners involved in the development of the initiative’s activity include: Transmit Enterprise, Blu Sky Tax Ltd chartered accountants, Agora Bay Ltd growth finance consultants and NatWest which has partnered with Entrepreneurial Spark to launch business accelerator hubs across the UK including one due to open in Newcastle this August.

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