Posted on Thursday 21 February 2013 by Ulster Business

PEYE Whiterock Partners 0001

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Paul Millar, Chief Investment Officer of Whiterock Capital Partners, open Whiterock's new headquarters.

Twenty loans worth a combined £5m have been approved by the manager of the Growth Loan Fund since the fund started investing six months ago.

The numbers were revealed today as Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster officially opened the new offices of Whiterock Capital Partners, the manager of the £50m Growth Loan Fund.

The Fund was established with investment of £25m from both Invest Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), and aims to invest £50m over the next four to five years. It provides mezzanine finance to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to grow.

Paul Millar, chief investment officer at Whiterock, said: "The £50m Growth Loan Fund is already proving itself to be a key driver in export-led business growth in Northern Ireland, as well as stimulating local employment by securing existing jobs and creating many new jobs right across the province.

"Not only have our investors, Invest NI and NILGOSC, been extremely supportive, but the level of support and buy in from the banks locally has been very encouraging also. Our product is complementary to other forms of finance and we couldn't provide loans to indigenous companies without their banks' consent. This level of support across the board – which also includes our law firms, accountancy firms and venture capitalist referral partners – is a very clear demonstration of their commitment to supporting sustainable economic growth in Northern Ireland."

WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP was established to respond to enquiries to the Fund by the consortium of three partners – Braveheart Ventures Limited, NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers, all of which are authorised and regulated by the FSA.

Minister Foster said: "The Growth Loan Fund is just one of the practical actions that my Department, through Invest Northern Ireland, has taken to stimulate and encourage growth in these challenging economic times.

"The Fund has already made a number of significant loans and has a healthy number of enquiries from companies interested in benefiting from the Fund. I am confident that many additional SME businesses in Northern Ireland, who are crucial to creating a dynamic, innovative and export focussed economy, will benefit from investment from the Growth Loan Fund in the months and years ahead."

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