Aberystwyth, Bangor universities' small business fund

Bangor University
Image caption Bangor and Aberystwyth universities are looking to launch the fund next year

Aberystwyth and Bangor universities are set to launch a £2m small business fund in mid and north Wales.

The two institutions are creating an independently-operated venture capital fund to invest in companies.

The universities said they had worked with firms over the years to share knowledge and expertise, and many spin-off companies had been formed.

The scheme could be launched during the first half of 2012, subject to approval by the their governing bodies.

The two universities are also in talks with the Welsh Government and other bodies about the initiative.

In February, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities announced they were planning a "strategic alliance" as institutions around Wales look to work more closely.

Their new fund will allow for the commercialisation of research, developed inside and outside the institutions in the mid and north Wales regions.

The venture capital fund of some £2m initially will be financed from a variety of sources including private equity, said the universities.

Prof Noel Lloyd, vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: "Universities have a key role in promoting innovation and this is something which is at the very heart of our existing commercial activities.

"As we deepen and broaden the collaboration with our colleagues in Bangor, the time is now right to take a bold step in helping to support early stage companies, looking to invest and grow here in Wales."

Prof John Hughes, vice-chancellor of Bangor University, added: "The launch of this fund demonstrates the firm commitment of both universities to contribute in a very direct way towards the economic development of our region."

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