Founded in 1989, independent fund management company NEL Fund Managers Ltd. provides financial products to small and mid-sized businesses based in the North East of England.
After nearly 30 years in business in 2007, the company decided to change its approach to the ever-evolving business world and to enhance creativity and innovation within their strategy.
Yvonne Gale, CEO of NEL Find Managers, talks about the challenges they were facing at the time, the support they’ve received from RTC North and their business growth plan and ambitions.
“RTC have been known to NEL for many years. We recognise them as being an integral part of the North East business support eco-system and have, over the years, referred many businesses to RTC’s innovation and business growth services.
“We were aware of RTC’s unique approach in getting to know the specific objectives of a business and using that to develop a bespoke action plan, and so when we decided to engage with an innovation specialist in 2017, RTC were the obvious choice.
“NEL Fund Managers has been investing for economic impact for almost 30 years. We’re very proud of the part we have played in strengthening the North East economy in that time and have had the privilege of working with and funding some excellent growing businesses.
“We approached the team of innovation specialists at RTC to take our creative thinking up a level and ensure that as a fund manager we are best placed to meet the evolving needs of the North East’s business community.
“RTC took the time to get know NEL as a business - not only what we do, but why we do it and what we stand for. This was very important to us. It meant we could adopt creative thinking methods which encouraged innovation, but that remained within our responsible investment practices and aligned with our core values.
“Since receiving support from RTC, we’ve completely refreshed our approach to innovation. The whole NEL team received the training and we regularly get together to discuss new ideas on a huge range of subjects, from internal process improvement and efficiency, to creating new and innovative finance products.
“We now have a range of tools and methods, both for idea generation and idea refinement, which we can adapt to any business challenge we face. This has proven a very efficient and effective problem - solving technique.
“NEL now have two new funds to invest totalling £27m. The North East Growth Capital Fund and the North East Small Loan Fund (part of the North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund).
“The £18m North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to facilitate the creation of 790 new jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the project, and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland looking to realise their growth potential.
“Aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in the same areas, and is designed to assist with the creation of 1,2 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the same period.
“Our investment mission is now to start utilising these funds as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to get them to management teams with robust growth plans that will take their businesses forward.
“The specialist training, we received from RTC will enable us to create funding solutions which meet the needs of these businesses with our aim of investing to strengthen the North East economy. “