Fund to play pivotal role in LEPs

Alex McWhirter

Finance Yorkshire aims to play a “pivotal role” in the Local Enterprise Partnerships, according to their new acting chief executive.

Alex McWhirter has stepped-up to the top position from the Finance Yorkshire board, having helped to launch the £90m venture capital and loan fund earlier this year.

Alex will be working for Finance Yorkshire on a seconded basis for three days a week, while continuing his current capacity as assistant director of business at Yorkshire Forward

Mr McWhirter said: “During this environment of change, specifically on the future of Yorkshire Forward and creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), it makes sense for me to share these roles and ensure business continuity for Access to Finance support across the region.

“Having already held a position on the Finance Yorkshire board, I am fully aware of how Finance Yorkshire can help lay the foundations for growth for a variety of companies. I look forward to continuing to work with the excellent team of staff and Fund managers to ensure the much needed investment in the Yorkshire and Humber region SMEs continues.

“The creation of LEPs in West and South Yorkshire will ensure the gap left by the abolition of Yorkshire Forward is filled with leaders from the business community having a stronger say in the development of the local economy.

“It is vital that this new beginning creates an environment of collaboration and Finance Yorkshire intends to be a pivotal role in that partnership by investing in key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, creative and digital, healthcare and local carbon industry.”

Mr McWhirter takes over from Jonathan Dixon, who had been interim chief executive of Finance Yorkshire since 2009.

He added: “I would like to thank Jonathan for all his hard work during the last couple of years. He has played an integral role as interim chief executive in helping to get Finance Yorkshire off the ground and available for businesses to access much needed finance. We wish him the best of luck in his future career.”

Helping a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development, Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire