Finance Yorkshire secures £5m boost

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire. (S)
Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire. (S)

Finance Yorkshire’s investment fund has been extended following an injection of fresh capital from two Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Funding totalling £5m has been allocated to Finance Yorkshire by the Leeds City Region LEP and Sheffield City Region LEP, supported by their respective combined authorities. This follows the full investment of Finance Yorkshire’s £113m fund in June.

Leeds City Region includes the whole of the Harrogate District, as well as Wetherby and Tadcaster.

Finance Yorkshire, which is supported financially by the European Union, provides seedcorn, loan and equity-linked investments to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow.

It is now looking for new investment opportunities in companies that require gap funding to realise their development ambitions and employ more people.

Since its inception in 2010, Finance Yorkshire has invested in more than 470 companies, enabling them to increase turnover by a total of £452m, attract a further £286m from private-sector sources, and create and safeguard more than 13,400 jobs.

Finance Yorkshire chief executive Alex McWhirter said: “We know that many companies are in good shape but nonetheless find it difficult to access funding. Our investments play an important role in filling that funding gap.

“The full investment of our original fund was an exceptional achievement but we are mindful of the need to provide continued support for regional SMEs.

“We look forward to talking to regional businesses about their funding requirements and will continue to work closely with business advisers to highlight the investment opportunities available.”

The LEPs’ new funding enables regional investment activity to be managed by Finance Yorkshire up until March 2017 and the introduction of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has attracted investment from the European Regional Development Fund, the UK Government and the European Investment Bank.