A fund that has supported over 4,000 North East SMEs over the past seven years is calling for more business bids, as it enters its final year.

Business support organisation NBSL launched the North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) – part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – back in 2012 in a bid to provide project-specific grants to growing businesses across the region.

Aimed solely at small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in County Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, the fund differs from more traditional business support programmes by providing grant funding towards the cost of using external experts to deliver business improvement projects.

Now, as the fund reaches its final stages, North East Business Support Manager, John King, is urging SMEs to make the most of the opportunity to get involved. A total of £450,000 is still available for County Durham businesses who can receive up to 40% funding towards projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000.

He explains: “NBSL is a not-for-profit organisation which, over the past 18 years, has established a revered reputation for providing business support across the North East and the NEBSF fund has been one of our most successful initiatives to date.

“The idea, from the outset, was to provide small and medium sized businesses, not just with an easy to access pot of cash to fund a project, but to help them tap into a support network of experts in a variety of fields designed and delivered exclusively to make sure North East businesses succeed.”

The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.

To find out more about the fund, visit: www.nbsl.org.uk/nebsf, phone: 01670 813322 or email: fundingsupport@nbsl.org.uk