Advantage West Midlands has announced the closing of The Advantage Technology Fund at GBP7 million. The fund has been raised to encourage and support the development of technology-led businesses in the West Midland region. In creating the fund, a unique public/private sector finance partnership has been set up; the first of its kind to be brokered by any of the country’s nine regional development agencies.
3i is backing the investment vehicle as are, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Engineering Employers’ Federation and the European Union via the ERDF programme. Growth capital investments of between GBP200,000 and GBP250,000 will be made in start-ups and SMEs whose primary business is technology related. John Marsden of fund manager Innvotec said that the pressure is on, as the fund has to be invested by the end of the year. He anticipates around 30 investments from the fund. He also comments on the focus of the fund: “Most people believe that the driver for future employment is going to come from knowledge-based industries, which is where the Advantage Technology fund is directed. It has excellent partners who will make a great contribution to the real growth in prosperity in the West Midlands.