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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Creating first impressions

OUTSTANDING impressions of Barrow and Furness were promoted internationally last week.

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PUTTING FURNESS FIRST: Stuart Klosinski, industrial development manager at the Furness Enterprise

Firstly,Glen Garth Hotel in Barrow’s Abbey Road, played host to a delegation from a Canadian, Ottawa-based company that is looking to invest in energy generation in the UK for the first time.

Glen Garth’s quality offer – accommodation, location, nearby historic Furness Abbey and its ability to host the initial meeting we had with the visitors – were all remarked upon as helping get the visit off to a good start and contributing to the wider business case for investing in Furness.

The company went away sold on the area’s ability to offer sites and skills they need.

Bosun’s Locker at Rampside also added to the great first impressions Furness creates.

A Scottish-based company was impressed by the welcome the owner gave representatives during a day visit to meet the Canadian firm and discuss innovation and energy investment.

Furness Enterprise also helped create good first impressions of Furness in London last week, where I was strongly supported by BIS North West.

Our task was to brief officials in the Office of Life Sciences at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills about the outstanding capabilities that the region has as a location for bio-science investment.

One outcome was agreement to work with UK Trade & Investment to jointly promote Furness, Cumbria and the region abroad to attract more investment here.

Integral to being able to attract companies is the availability of finance.

In Liverpool on April 20 I met Paul Gower of YFM Equity Partners, which manages a £45m North West Fund for Development Capital.

It invests sums of between £100,000 and £2m in businesses located in or relocating to the North West of England.

Paul’s team run the £185m North West Fund, partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

YFM partly financed Eclipse Energy as they progressed their planned Ormonde windfarm development off Barrow.

Eclipse were able to sell on their project to Sweden’s Vattenfall, resulting eventually in a significant number of jobs being created here.

Last year, YFM invested £7.3m into 11 deals. They have now invested in 71 businesses.

YFM Equity Partners has recently helped a healthcare recruitment specialist transform using £1m of finance to provide access to a long-term source of funding on attractive terms.

Other recent investments include a community-based pharmacy group.

It is Furness Enterprise, working with local, regional and national allies like Paul that help us lead making a case for development here.

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