Eversheds instructed on North of England small business initiative

Eversheds has advised on the creation of £400m worth of funds to support small and medium ­enterprises in the north of England.

Ronald Paterson
Ronald Paterson

The firm advised the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) on the establishment of £184m in funding via the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises ­programme.

The funds come from a mixture of that particular Regional Development Agency (RDA) and the European Investment Bank.

Although Eversheds sits on the NWDA panel, public procurement rules meant that it had to tender separately for this particular work. Mace & Jones ­partner Gary Jones advised the holding fund.
Eversheds worked on a similar transaction in the northeast, acting for RDA One North East on the availability of £125m of funding, sitting opposite partner Mike Spetch at Ward Hadaway, while in Yorkshire it advised the holding fund Finance Yorkshire. In that instance Walker Morris associate Gerry McMenemy advised the RDA Yorkshire Forward.

“It’s very complex because one of the issues with a transaction like this is that you’ve got a number of different bodies who are entitled to have a say and whose requirements are entitled to be reflected,” said Eversheds lead partner Ronald ­Paterson, who worked with commercial partner Bridgette Wilcox and a team of tax, public procurement and EU state aid specialists. “In the UK there are three ­government departments, while there are three separate sources of European ­regulations to deal with.

“When money gets into the hands of funds managers, there are stringent reporting requirements to hold them to account. And because of the nature of the ­procurement process there’s far less negotiation with the managers – the rules don’t permit it,” he added.