Mercia EIS Funds

Talking about the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund Programme

Ideas of the future get a chance to blossom with multi million pound investment fund

Bright ideas emerging from universities in the West Midlands now have the chance to become reality with the continued support of the vital Mercia Fund 1. Over the next 3 years, innovative technology ideas that have been developing quietly through research or in laboratories now have the opportunity to be tested, developed and brought to market through available investment.

Mercia Fund 1 offers two types of investment. The first initially prepares and supports the start of ideas focussed on key technology areas such as electronics, advanced materials, medical technologies or information communication. The next stage investment enables, the testing, developing and getting the ideas ready for launch and future investment.

The fund is supported by just over £1million from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and matched by six West Midlands universities and Mercia Fund 1.

Communities Minister Baroness Hanham CBE said:

“There is some amazing work going on in local Universities which you just don’t hear about and opportunities to see new and exciting ideas prosper are often missed. I am delighted that we are able to provide support to this project which will help seek out those ideas leading to the creation of new businesses, boosting the local economy and ultimately helping local people.”

Unlike most funds, this is an evergreen fund where investment returns are re-cycled into new investments allowing other ideas to take shape and benefit from the fund’s continued investment activity.

Michael Cumming, Mercia Fund 1 Advisory Committee chairman said: “We are delighted to receive the ERDF grant and continued support from our university partners who include the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick, Aston, Coventry, Keele and Staffordshire. With these funds we will be able to continue with Mercia Fund 1 investment activities and thus provide a source of sustained funding for the West Midlands’ university base”.

To find out more about the fund, contact Mark Payton at Mercia Fund Management on or visit

Editor’s Notes:

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme which runs from 2007 to 2013. This is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development.

The West Midlands European Regional Development Fund Programme has been allocated 400 million euros to invest in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

In the West Midlands the priority areas and themes are:

· Innovation and Research & Development

Increasing investment in research and development through helping businesses take forward new innovation, sharing of knowledge and developing and demonstrating new technology

· Enterprise Development

Increasing business performance through supporting high growth businesses, improving resource efficiency, providing access to finance and developing a strong entrepreneurial culture

· Sustainable Urban Development

Improving the performance of key urban areas through regenerating local areas, encouraging investment and new businesses, creating job opportunities and helping communities most in need

· Inter-Regional Activity

Working with European partners to learn and improve, share and apply best practice and solve problems

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Mercia Fund 1

Mercia Fund 1 is an evergreen venture fund managed by Mercia Fund Management for the provision of investment capital to support and translate university-based expertise and research into viable commercial prospects via SMEs or royalty-bearing licences. The Mercia Fund 1 has historically benefited from support from the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham, BIS and the Wellcome Trust.

For more information contact Lynsey Cooke, Communications Manager on 0303 444 6587 or email