Foster welcomes £16million fund to help SMEs create jobs

Mar 09, 2012

Picture by Press Eye

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster pictured with Neil Simms and Jim Curran from Clarendon Fund Managers in Belfast.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today welcomed the appointment of the manager for a new £16million fund to help SMEs grow and create jobs.

Clarendon Fund Managers Ltd has been awarded the contract to deliver the Co-investment Fund (‘Co-Fund NI’), a £16million equity fund that will co-invest with business angel/private investor-led deals.

The Fund aims to make eight equity investments a year, typically in the £250,000 to £450,000 value range, with £7.2million from Co-Fund NI being matched by £8.8million from private investors, on a deal-by-deal basis.

The Fund, which has been created by Invest Northern Ireland, will be part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

Welcoming the appointment, Arlene Foster said: “Along with the Growth Loan Fund, which I announced last week, Co-Fund NI is a key component of Invest Northern Ireland’s wider Access to Finance strategy, with the objective of stimulating the availability of risk capital to SMEs across Northern Ireland.

“Companies with high growth potential must not be held back because they cannot access finance. Business angels are playing an increasingly important role in the growth and development of both earlier stage technology companies, and established businesses seeking equity finance to drive export growth. By providing match funding, Co-Fund NI will help ensure this approach continues to give SMEs the confidence to expand and create more jobs.

“Clarendon is based in Belfast and manages various funds supporting SMEs in Northern Ireland and I welcome their appointment to oversee the operation of Co-Fund NI.”

Neil Simms at Clarendon Fund Managers, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to manage Co-Fund NI which will help to develop equity availability from private investors for SME’s in Northern Ireland, and support business growth. The Fund will typically co-invest alongside business angels, who will lead the deal and set the terms, thus accelerating development of syndication, and stimulating levels of investment activity.”

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