A North East design innovation consultancy is looking to take on more people and projects after securing a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund.

Edge Innovation supports innovation with and across public, private and third sectors, and works with organisations of all sizes across different industries to help them find solutions which meet existing and evolving market needs.

Founded by well-known regional innovator Simon Green, the Gateshead-based business helps clients develop and deliver new products, processes and services by applying different practical perspectives and ideas to their innovation journeys.

After working with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund, Edge Innovation is now looking to broaden its pipeline of client projects.

The business already works with clients right across the UK, as well as in the US, Middle East and Far East, and is aiming to grow its presence in each of these areas.

Two new jobs are set to be created in the coming months, which will take the team up to seven people, while the business is also looking to increase its focus on the social and environmental impact of its operations.

Existing North East clients include Teesside University, Newcastle University, the Derwent Valley Car Club the Tees Valley Combined Authority and a number of local charities.

Simon Green, chief executive at Edge Innovation, says: “Innovation and practical thinking has always been at the heart of the North East’s economic development and success, and it’s a tradition that we’re very much carrying on.

“By taking a human-centred approach to the design process, we’re able to contribute to the development of more effective products, processes and services which meet specific market needs and so help clients of all sizes achieve their commercial objectives.

“Sustainability and environmental issues are now an undoubted priority for businesses across every industry sector, as well as for ourselves, and the insight and guidance our team provides can enhance the impact that new products and services have in this respect.

“We know there are substantial opportunities for us to build our presence both at home and overseas, and we’re expanding our team to ensure we can take advantage of them through the coming year and beyond.

“Having come across NEL regularly over the years, we knew what they could do for us and the team worked quickly to make sure the investment application process went very smoothly.”

Susan Snowdon, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Simon and his team have a unique position within the North East economy and use their unrivalled expertise to help clients develop more effective products, services and processes.

“This insight has a direct impact on the growth objectives that these clients can achieve and we’re very pleased to now be part of their own expansion plans.”

Part of the £130m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It 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.

The overarching £153m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

NEL Fund Managers is also responsible for managing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.