Blanks joins Â£160m VC investment fundBy Matthew Ord, Digital Staff Writer
A senior appointment has been made for the second Jeremie fund, a £160m venture capital investment programme for the North East, ahead of its planned launch in 2016.
The fund is being developed in a collaboration between the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Tees Valley Unlimited LEP.
Estelle Blanks, who was most recently deputy director of the Newcastle Science City initiative, has been appointed as deputy project director of the fund.
Banks said the fund would build upon the work of its predecessor Jeremie1, which has invested almost £110m in 650 North East companies since its 2010 inception.
Jeremie1 has also secured more than £120m in investment from the private sector and by the end of 2014 will have created 5,000 jobs and safeguarded a further 2,800.
Jeremie2 is set to bring together EU structural funds and financing from the European Investment Bank.
The two LEPs will "ensure more funding is available for businesses to increase growth and secure economic prosperity" in the two LEP areas.
Paul Woolston, chairman of the North East LEP, said: "The first Jeremie fund has made an enormous difference to the North East economy and we’re delighted the government and the European Investment Bank are supportive of our vision to use the new fund as part of our plans to bring further growth to the region."
Representatives from both the two LEPs and the government form part of a Project Board which is working to ensure Jeremie2 is ready to launch in 2016.
Project team leader Andrew Mitchell said: "This is a hugely complex development and Estelle will bring the project management skills we need to ensure that we are ready to launch at the beginning of 2016."