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NEL Partnering With ‘If We Can You Can’ Challenge To Help More Firms Get Investment Ready

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(L-R) Carolyn McGregor (NEL), Zoe Maylam (If We Can You Can), Charlotte Windebank (If We Can You Can) and Yvonne Gale (NEL)

Regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers is launching a new partnership with the If We Can You Can Challenge to help more North East businesses get themselves ‘investment ready’.

The initiative will see the two partners holding a series of events right through the year which will provide support and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs who are moving towards the stage where their companies require outside capital to fully realise their potential.

And it will also provide opportunities for these business owners to meet a range of contacts who work to help start-up and early stage SMEs grow and develop, with an event for all participants in the scheme this year currently being planned.

Now in its 11th year, the If You Can We Can Challenge is recognised as the North East’s premier business start-up initiative and has provided hundreds of regional firms with invaluable access to new markets, mentors and resources.

Following a bus tour to spread the word about the If You Can We Can Challenge around the region, a launch event for all partners, local start-ups and enterprise agencies involved with this year’s Challenge will take place at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, on Wednesday 24 April.

Zoe Maylam, events manager at If You Can We Can, says: “We have a wide range of events and activities lined up for the 2019 Challenge and working with NEL is going to add a further layer to what we can offer.

“Entrepreneurs tend to have a long-term vision for the growth of their ventures, and even those at the very beginning of their journey often have an idea of when and why they’ll be looking to bring in outside investment.

“Our work with NEL will help our participants build a better understanding of how the business investment process works, what’s available on the market at the moment, the benefits they can accrue from accessing this capital and the difference it can make to the speed at which they grow.”

NEL is the only fund management firm to be awarded two of the five funds that make up the overarching North East Fund, including the £9m North East Small Loan Fund.

The Small Loan Fund typically offers loans to businesses of between £10,000 and £50,000, and is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, says: “Making sure you and your business are as fully prepared as possible for attracting investment capital is essential if you want to maximise your chances of success, and we already work closely with potential investees to ensure their business plans and structures are in the best possible shape.

“Working with the If You Can We Can Challenge team means we can share this intelligence directly with even more individuals and businesses who we might soon see putting their ideas to our investment team and becoming part of our investee portfolio.

“Our aim is to ensure these entrepreneurs are ‘pitch ready’ when the time comes, and we’re sure that many of those taking part in this year’s challenge will follow in the footsteps of predecessors who have gone on to achieve great success with the support of outside investment.”

The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.