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Funding body's success attracts international attention

Published: 26th June 2014

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Left to right: Professor Stuart Locke with Finance Yorkshire Chief Executive Alex McWhirter

Finance Yorkshire has attracted the attention of one of New Zealand’s leading finance academics.

Professor Stuart Locke has spent a month-long Fellowship at the University of York studying the regional funding body, and looking at ways in which its infrastructure, objectives and philosophy could be applied to benefit small businesses in his home country and elsewhere.

A Professor of Finance at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, Stuart Locke has spent much of his time in the UK looking at the unique way in which Finance Yorkshire is structured, how it works closely with intermediaries and how it is committed to the growth of the Yorkshire region as a whole.

Professor Locke said: “There has been little success in New Zealand when it comes to funding opportunities for small businesses. We have an open economy with little regulation, but funding programmes have traditionally been very bureaucratic.

“At Finance Yorkshire, the lack of bureaucracy is refreshing; their Investment Managers aren’t public sector workers who are obliged to tick boxes and follow local government guidelines to the letter, but finance professionals with many years’ experience and dedication to the small business cause.”

Professor Locke also singled out Finance Yorkshire’s structure for particular praise, noting that its’ ‘umbrella’ approach to gap funding, encompassing Seedcorn, Loan and Equity Linked Investments, sets it apart from other JEREMIE funds*.

“It means there is the capacity to respond to a whole range of businesses in one place,” said Professor Locke. “That is unusual for small business funds and creates goodwill among prospective clients who can be referred literally right next door if they are not suitable for one type of funding, but ideal for another.”

He concluded: “Over and above providing gap funding for a range of small businesses, Finance Yorkshire is committed to hard-line socio-economic factors such as job creation and adding value to the region. This is what counts when it comes to building a funding body that works.”

Over the last four years Finance Yorkshire has invested more than £72 million in SMEs in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Chief Executive Alex McWhirter: “We are delighted that Finance Yorkshire has attracted the attention of Professor Locke, who has a particular interest in small business finance and so is ideally placed to analyse exactly what we do and how we do it.

“It is hugely encouraging to know that what we do, we do very well, and who knows, in the future Finance Yorkshire may serve as a blueprint for a similar body in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world.”

Finance Yorkshire works with its considerable network of financial intermediaries and business advisers to inform companies in Yorkshire and the Humber about the funding it has available to support business growth in the region.

To date, more than 350 SMEs in Yorkshire, the Humber and North and North East Lincolnshire have found additional gap funding at Finance Yorkshire. It has made more than 582 investments totalling more than £72 million and this has led to 7,238 jobs being created and/or safeguarded.

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

Editors Notes…

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