Venture capitalist to head £125m North-East small business fund

A venture capitalist will chair a board that will oversee the distribution of a £125 million Brussels-backed investment fund aimed at helping small businesses in the North-East.

The Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (Jeremie) Investment Advisory Board will be chaired by venture capitalist Robert Drummond, while Sir David Chapman will take on the role of deputy chairman.

The board members have also been announced as financiers Dr Anthony Henfrey, Richard Green, Peter Yendell and Robert Davies.

The board will be responsible for appointing a team of venture capital companies who will invest the £125 million fund in small businesses in the North-East.

The Jeremie fund will be channelled to small businesses through a series of smaller funds managed by these venture capital firms.

The fund, which was established by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank with the aim of supporting local economic development, will be the first of its kind in England.

It allows EU states to pay out European structural funding in the form of investment loans to small businesses, rather than provide grants for individual projects.

Malcom Page, deputy chief executive of regional development agency One North East, said: "I'm delighted we have been able to appoint such a talented and experienced board to oversee this important fund and their knowledge will prove vital in ensuring that the region gets the maximum benefits from the investments made."

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