The North East Fund is offering SMEs and owner managers across County Durham the opportunity to obtain information and informal guidance on what financial support is available and how to access it via free one-to-one virtual meetings with its team.

Engagement Officer, Andrew Gibson, is asking businesses from Consett and Bishop Auckland in the west, Peterlee and Seaham in the east and all surrounding areas, to get in touch should they require details on Government and local authority loans and grant schemes and how to apply to help sustain their company in the new Covid-19 landscape.

Companies which have experienced greater demand for their products and services, or who may require funding to adapt their business to take advantage of new opportunities, are also advised to get in touch given that the North East Fund has helped to secure over £10m of investment for local SMEs since mid-March.

As well as Durham-based enterprises, Andrew and his colleague, James Holloway, can also advise businesses across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland on UK-wide schemes, such as Innovate UK grants and the Future Fund, as well as what is on offer across the North East region.

Andrew explained, “Both James and myself work very closely with regional economic development teams, support organisations and the wider business community, therefore we have access to a plethora of information which, now more than ever, is essential for company owners. We have established very close relationships with hundreds of regional SMEs who, in the past, have come to us for funding. However, if we can offer any general assistance and become the first point of contact for owners trying to navigate challenging times and work through what’s available to them, we’ll very much do so.

“Whilst we can’t provide short-term working capital or bridging loans to struggling companies, we can help to identify possible sources of such funding. One of our fund management companies, NEL, is now able to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) so companies which may have been declined previously, or who may have already received a CBIL or Bounce Back loan but need additional finance to sustain or grow their business, should definitely to get in touch.”