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Pennies from heaven could help ambitious enterprises.

A new pounds 30m investment fund will provide North-East companies with another potential source of backing to expand their business.

The Seraphim Fund, backed by "business angels" across the country who have raised pounds 10m and pounds 20m from the Government, is intended to plug the pounds 500,000 to pounds 2m equity gap not currently met by venture capitalists or other investors. North-East enterprise agency Entrust is part of the national Seraphim consortium, which was one of the successful Enterprise Capital Fund bidders announced this week by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Enterprise Capital Fund programme is intended to boost private-equity investment in fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses. The Seraphim Fund will be led by Greater London Enterprise and has partners including Advantage Business Angels in the Midlands, Archangel in Scotland and Entrust covering our region.

Entrust will act as Seraphim's "gatekeeper" here, promoting and co-ordinating applications from companies seeking growth funding. Entrust regional financial services manager Bob Marris said: "The launch of the Seraphim Capital Fund is excellent news for North-East businesses.

"The Seraphim Capital Fund will substantially increase the equity funding available to high-growth, early-stage companies in the North and help address the sub-pounds 2m equity gap." Investments will be approved across the UK by an investment board, based solely on proposal merit ( so although no specific pot of money will be allocated to the North-East, there is also no limit to the amount potentially available to the region's companies.

The Seraphim Fund plans to invest over five years starting from this September.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 30, 2006
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