The announcement of a £4m extension to the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund has led to an unprecedented surge in interest from ambitious regional businesses looking to access it.
Fund management firm NEL Fund Managers has received more than 100 enquiries over the last three months from businesses that are looking for outside investment to help them expand.
The enquiries are all now being processed by the NEL investment team, and it's expected that several of them will be successful in the coming months.
NEL is looking to make up to 15 investments of between £50,000 and £400,000 from it this year, and continuing to actively look for regional firms and their advisors who have plans to expand.
Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL, said: “There's never any shortage of investment enquiries and business plans coming across our desks, but the last three months has been unprecedented - we'd usually expect to get around six to eight serious enquiries every month, but since the Growth Fund extension was announced, the phone's never stopped.
"It's especially encouraging to see companies choosing to take control of their own futures by looking for the investment they need to expand, and it perhaps suggests that there's a greater degree of confidence in our business community than recent reports have suggested.
"We're now working through the applications we've received, and are referring that aren't quite investment ready on to professional advisors across the region who will help bring them up to scratch.
"The indications are that we will be oversubscribed for Growth Fund investments before the end of the year, and we would strongly urge any regional business owners who are considering going down this route to compile their business plans as soon as possible."
The £159.5m programme is a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East.
The fund aims to support 950 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.
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