Yorkshire fund appoints key leaders for business growth

Finance Yorkshire board L‑R (Back) John Watson, Alex McWhirter, Tony Parsons, Peter Myers, David Bagley, (front) Jennie Adams, James Newman.

Yorkshire fund appoints key leaders for business growth

Soon to be launched Finance Yorkshire has appointed its board of directors, with James Newman named as the company’s chairman.

Mr Newman, originally from South Yorkshire, now living in York, is being tasked with heading up the new investment fund for the region.

Finance Yorkshire is a £90m regional venture and capital loan fund that is due to be launched by Yorkshire Forward in March 2010 and will invest in businesses across the Yorkshire and Humber region to support their growth and development. It is set to complete a four-year investment phase by December 2013.

The Fund will build on the success of the Partnership Investment Fund (PIF) and South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF), which have now completed their investment phases. It will provide cross-regional access to finance support for the first time, on equal terms, for all qualifying businesses.

Mr Newman already has a portfolio of non-executive directorships, including with international consultancy Scott Wilson Group plc and Dignity plc, the UK's largest independent provider of funeral services.

He is also chairman of other northern based public companies listed on AIM, Brulines, Straight and Infoserve as well as being deputy chairman of the Governors at Sheffield Hallam University. Until December 2009, Mr Newman was also deputy chairman of PIF and chairman of its Investment Advisory Panel.

In October 2009, he became the 385th Master Cutler of the Cutlers Company in Hallamshire, which represents all manufacturing industry in the South Yorkshire region.

In addition to Mr Newman, Finance Yorkshire has announced the other key figures to make up the organisation’s board.

It includes Dr Ian Kelly, chief executive of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, Peter Myers, chief executive of West Yorkshire Tourism, Alex McWhirter, assistant director of business at Yorkshire Forward, David Bagley a long established member of the corporate finance community in Leeds and Jennie Adams, a former stockbroker from Scarborough.

To help continue the successful work of SYIF and PIF, Tony Parsons joins Finance Yorkshire from SYIF, while John Watson OBE, also becomes part of the board, as well as being chairman of PIF.

Mr Newman, Chairman of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Besides providing direct support to businesses and a boost to the regional economic development, the new Fund will generate a significant legacy from returns to support future sustainability.

“We see the Fund helping to establish many new businesses and create and safeguard thousands of jobs for the region. We will be working pro-actively with the region’s financial intermediaries to ensure that businesses receive the appropriate financial backing and other organisations in the region, who provide complementary services to the small business community.

“We will also be working closely with Business Link Yorkshire to ensure that awareness and demand is stimulated in more difficult to reach communities, in terms of geographical location, business sector and socio-economic group.

“We would hope to build on the experience of SYIF and PIF and their established relationships between intermediaries and clients.

‘’Finance Yorkshire can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses meet the gaps in the market for the funding they need for growth and development.’’

Simon Hill, executive director of business for Yorkshire Forward, added: “This is a Board of incredibly experienced individuals in both business development and provision of finance to companies.

“With such a strong knowledge base making key decisions, we believe Finance Yorkshire will be able to provide strategic investments to companies across the region, making a significant contribution to the economic development of Yorkshire and Humber.”

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.

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