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Bell Pottinger North - Client News
Thursday, May 25, 2006


2005/6 has been an excellent year for North West Seed Fund, which now has a total of £1.2m invested, over £2.6m of matched funding raised and a further £900,000 unlocked, in deals supporting early stage businesses based here in the region.

Established as part of the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA)'s raft of business finance options designed to stimulate growth and wealth generation across the region, the North West Seed Fund (NWSF) has been trading since September 2003.

To date, the Fund has invested in 12 businesses covering a wide spectrum of industry sectors, from manufacturing and engineering, to healthcare, IT and even film production. Sums invested range from just £6,000 to £325,000 in any one company and must involve both an equity stake and matched funding from the private sector.

Managed by Aquarius Equity Partners Ltd, NWSF is now keen to receive enquiries from early stage companies in Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire as well as Greater Manchester.

Fund Manager Steve Sealey explains: "30 per cent of all the enquiries we receive come from Greater Manchester and over 85 per cent of the investments made to date have been in Manchester and Lancashire. We've had a fantastic year, but would really like to spread the net and also help companies operating further afield. We would welcome more approaches from businesses in Cumbria and Merseyside, and offer very quick decisions on whether or not we can help. Places like Liverpool have a vibrant business community and are already well served by the new Liverpool Seed Fund. Our offering is complementary and may provide a viable alternative."

As part of the service, NWSF Fund Managers work with companies to negotiate the deal up to draft Heads of Agreement and then guarantee a 4-week turnaround to completion.

"The North West Seed Fund is an excellent example of the NWDA's approach to business finance," comments NWDA's Vivienne Upcott-Gill who set up many of the new seed and equity funds. "We can offer a vast range of financing options to business start-ups, early stage and established companies with growth potential, providing access to whichever is the most appropriate source of funding, including private investors through the TEChINVEST business angel network who frequently invest with the seed Fund.

"The TEChINVEST Equity Advisory Team often acts as a first port of call, signposting the most appropriate sources of finance to any business or entrepreneur looking for seed or equity finance. This has been another good year for the Seed Fund and we look forward to tracking the success of these investments in the years ahead."

For further information on the range of business finance options available, please phone TEChiNVEST on 01925 400302 or visit the TEChINVEST website www.techinvest.org.uk For specific information on North West Seed Fund, visit www.northwestseedfund.co.uk or call Steve Sealey, Duncan Peyton or Gavin Delaney at Aquarius Equity Partners Ltd on 0161 828 5221.

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Press contact: Deborah Garritty/Emily Goehler at Bell Pottinger North
Tel. 01625 506444 Fax. 01625 500900


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