Business Support

Growth Hub Logo

The North East Growth Hub

The North East Growth Hub exists to help micro, small and medium enterprises in South Tyneside access the business funding and support they need to grow. Over 200 business support, funding and finance providers are listed on this digital resource, plus insights and useful tips for business growth. Some of the key regional business support and funding providers are also highlighted below.

For more information visit the Growth Hub website.


The Growth Fund

The Growth Fund is a £4.5m programme of investment part-funded by ERDF that supports SME growth across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authorities.

Support is available for businesses looking to expand or establish new operations in South Tyneside. The Growth Fund is a £4.5m programme of investment part-funded by ERDF that supports SME growth. You could be eligible for a grant of up to 30% of expenditure, if you are a small or medium size business and planning capital investment of at least £134,000.

Growth fund

Eligible expenditure may include land and buildings; premises lease costs;  premises fit-out costs; plant, machinery and other capital equipment or revenue costs directly associated with a capital investment, where eligible under ERDF rules (e.g. professional fees, installation costs etc.)

For more information on eligibility visit The Growth Fund website.


NEF Innovation Fund logo

North East Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund looks for strong teams with scalable opportunities and invests up to £500,000 by way of loans or equity. Where possible, it provides further investment to support accelerated growth.

If funding of more than £500,000 is required, the fund managers work with SMEs to identify potential investors who may provide additional finance as part of a syndicate.

The fund is managed by Northstar Ventures. For more information visit the Northstar Ventures website.


NEF Venture Fund

North East Venture Fund

The Venture Fund can invest up to £1m at any stage in the business life cycle but is specifically looking for those firms which are engaged in innovation or developing disruptive business models.

Funding is available to all companies with high growth potential and also pre-start enterprises. The fund aims to provide a range of investment products, tailored to each specific requirement, including both equity and mezzanine debt. The fund can either act as the lead investor or participate in syndication deals with others.

The fund is managed by Mercia Asset Management. For more information visit the Mercia Asset Management website.


North East Development Capital Fund

The Development Capital Fund can invest from £400,000 to £2 million to support established businesses via debt finance, mezzanine loans or equity investment to help fulfil their growth potential. The Fund targets dynamic companies with strong management teams and ambitious growth plans.

Funding packages can be tailored to individual business needs, with Maven providing both operational and strategic support. Maven can lead or syndicate investments and Maven’s other funds can provide up to £15 million in a single transaction to finance development capital and MBOs.

The fund is managed by Maven Capital Partners (Maven). For more information visit the Maven Capital Partners website.


North East Growth Capital Fund

The Growth Capital Fund backs ambitious businesses with investment of up to £500,000 to accelerate growth potential.  The Fund can support a wide variety of growth plans and targets established businesses with strong management teams. Bespoke funding packages can be tailored to individual business needs, typically via debt finance, mezzanine loans or equity investment.

Repeat financing or co-financing with other funders to support plans requiring more than £500,000 can also be arranged where appropriate. Funding is typically provided on an unsecured basis without the need for Director’s Guarantees.

The fund is managed by NEL Fund Managers. For more information visit the NEL website.


North East Small Loan Fund

The Small Loan Fund backs small businesses with big plans. The Fund can support a wide variety of growth plans and typically advances loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to support actively trading North East businesses. Businesses with a limited trading history are also eligible for support where a clear route to generating sales in the short term can be demonstrated.

Repeat financing or co-financing with other funders to support plans requiring a larger amount can also be arranged where appropriate. Funding is typically provided on an unsecured basis without the need for Director’s Guarantees.

The fund is managed by NEL Fund Managers. For more information visit the NEL website.


Net Zero Changemakers

The Net Zero Changemakers programme is designed to identify and support innovative businesses who are creating or adapting products, services or processes as part of the region’s low carbon agenda.

Participating firms will benefit from some or all of the support available through the initiative, which includes grant funding, growth capital investment and a tailored 12-hour business support programme, with additional signposting to further regional and national support organisations being made where required.

Support is tailored to the needs of your business and can include all or some of the following:

Grant Funding – The SME Innovation Programme offers 40% grant funding for selected innovation projects from £5,000 up to £50,000.

Growth Capital – NEL Fund Managers has £3m to loan to low carbon businesses and projects from its two North East Funds (loan amounts up to £500,000).

Business Support – Tailored and fully-funded 12-hour business support programmes to support your low carbo business and/or project.

For more information visit: https://nel.co.uk/netzerochangemakers/


North East Ambition Programme

Registering with the North East Ambition programme gives small businesses in South Tyneside access to 1-2-1 advice from a business adviser. The programme is fully funded by the European Social Fund, so comes at no cost. Support includes:

  • Help to understand what job roles to recruit for
  • How to access funded training
  • Where to go for further business support advice, including marketing, human resources, or financial management  
  • Developing a plan to help businesses reach their goals

Find out more on the North East Ambition website.


North East Innovation Programme Logo 72

North East SME Innovation Programme

The North East SME Innovation Programme offers 40% grant funding and advice to SMEs looking to gain a competitive advantage and accelerate growth by unlocking their innovation.

SMEs must be operating B2B, have been trading for at least 12 months, and based in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or Durham.

To find out more or to arrange a chat, email innovation@ne-bic.co.uk or call 0191 516 6039.


Northstar Ventures

North East Social Investment Fund

In today’s challenging landscape, Social Investment offers a real opportunity for social enterprises and charitable organisations to gain funding for long term capacity building and to increase their social impact.

The North East Social Investment Fund supports organisations across the North East of England by providing affordable finance, with investments from £100K to £1million that can be used for a range of purposes including operational costs, working capital, asset purchases, or a combination.

It is important that taking on investment enables you to improve or scale your social impact, without putting a strain on your organisation. An experienced team also offer their expertise and guidance, from developing plans to new income streams, ensuring that you are supported along the investment journey, as a valued investee.

Find out more on the Northstar Ventures website.