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First Deal partners aim to help young entrepreneurs

A green taxi company is the first recipient from a new pump-prime investment package aimed at early stage start-up businesses – with more investments set to follow.

First Deal is the joint brainchild of Rivers Capital Partners, Square One Law and Finance Tree using investment from the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund.

David Hazeldine, of Newton Aycliffe, received a £10,000 investment from First Deal to help launch a Tyneside taxi company, operating low carbon vehicles.

David Pope of Finance Tree, Alan Fletcher of Square One Law, David Hazeldine of Green Taxi Service, Michael Dickens of River Capital Partners and Marie-Louise Bozonet of Square One Law

David Pope of Finance Tree, Alan Fletcher of Square One Law, David Hazeldine of Green Taxi Service, Michael Dickens of River Capital Partners and Marie-Louise Bozonet of Square One Law

First Deal recipients also receive mentored financial and legal advice and introductions to potential angel investors.

And the First Deal partners are encouraging ambitious entrepreneurs, looking to turn their business ideas into reality, to contact them.

Jonathan Gold, director and founder of Newcastle-based Rivers Capital Partners, says First Deal is aimed at very early stage companies.

He said: “We are looking at young or first time entrepreneurs, students or those who think they have an idea but do not have the financial means or skill set to take the idea any further.

“First Deal is a unique investment and business incubation package of £10,000 of potential investments for students and early stage entrepreneurs. Key is that this is the route to a further £150,000 or more as the package leads to their first serous investment”

Marie-Louise Bozonet, senior associate in the corporate team at Square One Law, said: “First Deal is aimed at really early stage companies and is designed to encourage entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas with mentored support.

“As well as being able to offer legal advice on how to structure their businesses we can also offer support and advice from our experienced lawyers and give access to mentored support from some of our contacts and clients.”

A budding entrepreneur taking part in the First Deal scheme will be asked to pitch their idea to the Rivers Capital Partners investment committee and if successful can be awarded an initial investment of up to £10,000.

David Hazeldine worked in business development at Durham County Council for six years before leaving his job in March this year, to concentrate on developing his business idea.

The £10,000 investment allowed him to undertake a comprehensive market research exercise and he has now secured premises on Newcastle’s Quayside from where to operate the business.

He said: “It was an excellent process, a mentored process, which gave me the money I needed to get the business up and running, as well as providing access to contacts, who helped develop the idea.

“Square One Law provided an excellent service and made the process very simple and the Finance Tree helped in the development of my business plan and financial strategy.”

David has since secured a six figure additional investment from the North East Angel Fund to allow him to purchase Toyota Prius hybrid cars to launch Drive Green Taxi Services.

The service is primarily targeted at the corporate and contract markets, with clients seeing it as an opportunity to meet their carbon reduction targets.

He added: “Our goal is to create a sustainable company which directly goes someway to reducing the pollution most commonly associated with road traffic.”

The Finance for Business North East Angel Fund is part of the £125m Finance for Business North East programme.

This has been developed with funds from the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund and now the defunct regional development agency One North East.

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