Welcome for landmark new £125m funding pot
A £125m fund designed to support North East businesses for the next five years was launched at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham.
The Finance for Business North East Fund, formerly called Jeremie, aimed to support up to 850 small and medium-sized businesses and create more than 5,000 jobs.
The money was pumped in by the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 and One North East, who announced they were contributing £62.5m, £44.25m and £18.25m respectively.
STAFF at the Shop Direct call centre in Sunderland were left in tears as the company announced it was closing the site. The company blamed the increase in customers managing their accounts online for the decision, which resulted in the loss of 900 jobs on Wearside. It said calls to its contact centres had dropped from 33million in 2005 to 19million. It also shut operations in Burnley and Wales.
KOREAN firm KP Chemical Corporation stepped in to bring Wilton International-based chemicals business Artenius UK out of administration. More than 250 people lost their jobs when the speciality chemicals maker was put into administration by its Spanish parent company La Seda, but the Korean company said 130 jobs would be created and 41 secured by the deal. KP was boosted with a £1.8m Grant for Business Investment from One North East.
ENIVRONMENTAL services group eaga said it was creating 200 jobs in the North East during the year. The Newcastle company announced it had won £1.9bn worth of contracts for the next five years, and would be adding to its 1,200 North East workforce. Eaga would later go on to agree a £75m funding deal with Barclays Bank in March, and would be creating a further 120 jobs to help TV viewers switch from an analogue to a digital signal. However, its founder and chief executive John Clough was replaced by commercial director Drew Johnson after stepping down due to ill health in April.
NEWCASTLE-based NorthStar Ventures launched a £2.4m creative fund which will invest money in TV, media and music projects. Backed by One North East and Northern Film and Media, the Finance for Business North East Creative Content Fund was designed to invest in 18 projects over the next two years. Beneficiaries in 2010 would include New Black Films, Meerkat Films and also World Productions, who were given £150,000 toward a drama re-telling the story of Manchester United’s Busby Babes.