The North East’s longest-standing business investor is celebrating after completing three decades of investing in growing regional companies.

NEL Fund Managers has made 826 investments across the North East worth a total of £98.4m since being set up in 1989, and has helped to create and secure thousands of jobs within hundreds of companies.

After originally being set up to provide unsecured loan funding to regional businesses, it became regulated for the conduct of investment business in 1993 and has since gone on to manage 13 different funds.

NEL is now responsible for two of the five funds that make up the £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

The £18m North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

The £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland, and is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, says: “The North East business community has changed out of all recognition over the last three decades, but what hasn’t changed is the importance of ambitious businesses having ready access to investment capital that can help them progress through successive stages of development.

“Our investments are been designed to have a tangible impact on both the businesses with which we work and the wider North East economy, and its always pleasing to see companies we’ve backed going on to secure national and international commercial success, as many of them have.

“We’re proud to have played a part in the success of so many North East companies throughout our first 30 years, helping them develop sustainable business models and so create more and better jobs.

“Our continuing mission is to help more of these ambitious companies realise even more of their potential by providing them with the investment capital they require to take their next steps forward.”

Jason Hobbs, Chief Executive at the North East Fund, adds: “NEL has played a vital role in the North East, providing investment and advice to businesses and also helping to sustain and grow the region’s financial services community, during often-turbulent economic times.

“As NEL enters its fourth decade, I’d like to congratulate the whole team there, and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “Access to finance is vital for any businesses looking to expand and grow. The support and investment NEL Fund Managers has made over its 30 years has helped boost the economy and create thousands of new jobs, supporting the region’s Strategic Economic Plan.

“NEL Fund Managers continue to be fantastic ambassadors for the North East business community and on behalf of the North East LEP, I congratulate them on reaching this important milestone.”