A FLAGSHIP growth fund has reached a landmark in supporting North East business, with 300 firms receiving a cash injection worth a total of more than £1.4m.
The Investment for Growth fund helps businesses by providing finance for development and growth projects.
Last night Tracey Watson, senior project manager, said the scheme had been a huge success but stressed that further funding was on offer to businesses looking to expand.
In total, £4.9mhas been made available to support North East businesses through the European Regional Development Fund-financed scheme.
“In total, we’ve been able to support 365 businesses with projects, which is fantastic and every one of these businesses is a success story,” said Watson. “I now want to get the message out there to business owners that funding is still available to them so they can create their own success story.”
One the many firms to benefit from the fund is North Shields-based engineering firm Quick Hydraulics.
Managing director Andrew Esson bought the business in 2011 and quickly decided to develop the company’s marketing strategy in order to expand its customer base.
Investment for Growth provided 40% of the money needed by the company to produce a new website and marketing materials, developed by Newcastle firm Standing Stone productions.
The company, which manufactures and sells hydraulic systems, has now rapidly expanded, adding seven new staff to its team and winning new business.
Esson said: “Since buying the business I’ve taken the proactive step of investing in facilities and people. Staff numbers now total 21 and that includes three new apprentices.
“My goal has been to shape Quick into a leading UK hydraulics company. A new website was essential for this and, thanks to the help and support received from Investment for Growth, we’re on the way to achieving that.”
Paul Brown, the Investment for Growth adviser who worked with Quick Hydraulics, said: “Quick Hydraulics is a great example of a North East manufacturing company that exhibits confidence by investing in its future.”
The Investment for Growth fund, delivered by the Investment Centre, is available to new and established businesses, but funds are limited so business owners need to urgently apply. Grants of up to 40% are still available to firms wanting to put into place business development projects.
To be eligible, businesses must be based in the region and provide a business-to-business products or services.