The Finance Durham Fund has invested over £1m in five businesses to grow in or move to County Durham over the last 12 months.
Established by Durham County Council in 2017, Finance Durham is a £20m investment fund overseen by Business Durham and managed by Maven Capital Partners, to help businesses to accelerate growth in the county.
The fund provides debt and equity funding to support businesses of all sizes from a variety of sectors, and is aimed at companies looking to scale up, create jobs and add economic prosperity in County Durham.
Funding ranges between £150,000 to £2m and can be tailored to meet the needs of businesses at most stages of the business growth cycle.
Over the last 12 months the Finance Durham Fund has made investments into five businesses enabling them to purchase new equipment, increase their capacity, and expand into new markets.
The companies include solar technology company Power Roll, fintech firm Growth Capital Ventures, online insurance disruptor honcho Markets and remote technology company Plexus Innovation and Dyer Engineering, which received a second investment of £250,000.
Durham-based honcho secured a £151,000 investment to fund the technical integration of insurers to its platform, to recruit new employees and to fund user acquisition marketing as part of its growth strategy to revolutionise the insurance market for consumers.
Growth Capital Ventures in Newton Aycliffe is using its £375,000 funding to grow its investment, software development and marketing team, as well as facilitating a move to new larger premises at Aycliffe Business Park.
Headquartered in Sunderland, Power Roll, has received a £250,000 investment to support the construction of a pilot plant in County Durham for its flexible, lightweight solar film capable of producing ultra-low-cost green electricity. The funds will also support continued technology development and patent costs.
Plexus Innovation, in Durham has secured a £150,000 investment to enable it to grow its team, to increase marketing activity, purchase stock and develop its innovative remote temperature monitoring technology into new applications such as medicine fridge and boiler temperature monitoring solutions.
Since it was established the Finance Durham Fund has supported the creation of over 200 jobs and, as well as directly funding companies, has helped leverage other investment from a variety of sources.
Sarah Slaven, Business Durham’s interim managing director, said: “We are committed to supporting businesses across County Durham to grow and achieve their ambitions, and we know that funding can often be a challenge for businesses looking to move to the next level. The Finance Durham Fund is one way we can help with this.
“Several of the investments made in 2020 build on funding awarded in previous years demonstrating how, through the Finance Durham Fund, we are able to support companies in the longer term.
“We encourage businesses to think about how investment could help them take the next step in their own future growth and rise to the post Covid challenges.
Cllr Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “It’s great to see so many businesses across the county have already benefitted from the Finance Durham Fund and the positive impact it is having on our economy and job creation in County Durham.
“The coronavirus pandemic continues to make the current economic climate difficult for businesses, so it is vital that we support companies during this rapidly-changing time, ensuring the economy is sustained and resilient in this period of uncertainty.
“Through the support from Finance Durham, we can ensure enterprising businesses with dynamic ideas have the right means to expand, enabling them to thrive while creating and safeguarding more and better jobs.”
Michael Vassallo, investment director at Maven, said: “We are delighted that the Fund has been able to support such a range of companies and helped create so many jobs across the County.
“Many of our transactions are fantastic examples of investors in the North East working together to provide local businesses with substantial funding packages to enable them to grow globally.
“At Maven, we understand the importance of proactively providing local support, our investment team has considerable in-depth knowledge of the local SME market, allied to our national resource, we are well-equipped to deliver comprehensive investor readiness training tailored to the individual growth needs of businesses based in County Durham.”