North east investment fund opens for applications

Gavin Cordwell-Smith

North east investment fund opens for applications

Businesses seeking loans for industrial and commercial office space developments can now apply for the North East Investment Fund (NEIF).

NEIF is a capital loan fund administered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) supporting capital projects that encourage local economic growth and create jobs in our area.

Since 2012, £65m has been secured by organisations for projects that will have a positive impact on the North East regional economy.

Now, new capital infrastructure funding applications are being sought for projects that help address the continued shortfall in the supply of the industrial and commercial office space in the North East.

The NEIF was established to support capital projects that will lead to job creation, as such loan funding starts from £200k and all loans are secured against existing company assets. As an evergreen fund, repayments and interest from all loans is put back into the fund and re-allocated to support new projects.

Among the NEIF success stories is Washington-based Hellens Group, which recently received loan funding of £1.7m from the NEIF, along with £1.27m from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund, to create 55,000 square feet of new industrial space in Hebburn.

It is the third time the company has secured finance from the NEIF. The latest project will see three large new industrial units built at Monkton Business Park, creating over 100 jobs.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive at Hellens Group, said: “The NEIF has been a valuable source of funding to our business since the credit crunch. We have found that banks are not lending to speculative industrial developments even though there is proven demand for new modern space in the region.

“We have fully let both of our previous developments funded by NEIF within 18 months of completion, helping to create and retain hundreds of jobs in the process. Without the funding these developments and the employment benefits that they bring would not have happened.

“We have found the whole process to obtaining and using the funding from the NEIF to be very transparent and straightforward. The NEIF doesn’t just look at the value of the asset to be created but also the employment benefits which it brings. They also don’t require a pre-let to be in place as long as there is a proven demand for space created.

“I would highly recommend the NEIF to any business looking for funding for a viable development in the region.”

David Land, chair of the North East LEP Investment Panel, said: “By investing in and developing the Grade A spaces our region needs, we can help create more and better jobs for the North East.”