A MULTI-MILLION pound venture capital fund has been launched in Lancashire to help local firms expand.

Economic development firm Enterprise is managing the £5million fund for small and medium sized businesses across the region.

HSBC bank has invested £3million in the fund, the European Regional Development Fund has put in £1.5million and Enterprise £500,000.

"This will inject much needed finance into business and industry in the North West," said Eric Tung, director of Enterprise Ventures, the investment arm of Enterprise.

"It will provide medium to long term finance in a sector of the market that is often overlooked by other financial institutions."

The fund will target small to medium sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

Investment limits for firms will be £250,000 but other funds Enterprise manages may be able to top that up to as much as £750,000.

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