ALMOST 3,000 jobs have been created across the region thanks to investments totalling £68 million from Finance Yorkshire.

New figures reveal the funding body has made 545 investments in small and medium-sized enterprises operating across Yorkshire.

The organisation is now looking to work with partners, including the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, to support more SMEs' growth plans.

One business to have received support is York-based speaker company Damson, which secured a £825,000 equity linked investment to develop and expand its product range and explore new markets.

Founder and chief executive James Talbot said: "Finance Yorkshire appealed to us because they are local, backed by European funding, and designed to help and promote organisations from our region.

"This is important to us because we are very proud of our Yorkshire heritage – our products are designed here, and our headquarters are located right here in the region so our roots are a big part of what we do.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2 million.

The new figures show Finance Yorkshire’s investments have in total created 2,782 jobs, safeguarded 3,826 jobs, created 32 new businesses and helped a further 326.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “In what has been a difficult couple of years, our investments have helped companies grow and maintain their competitive edge, increasing turnover, creating much-needed jobs and fuelling the regional economy.

“I’m confident our investments across a range of sectors will continue in the coming months, particularly with the upturn in the economy and a strong desire among SMEs to seek finance for growth.”