Statutory board


Michael Stephenson, MBE
, OBE - Chairman

Michael started his early career with Vickers PLC holding a number of senior appointments in various divisions, ultimately at Managing Director and Main Board level in the UK and USA.

He is also Managing Director of Helena BioSciences, a company he founded during the 1980's on his return to the north east.

Historically, Michael has worked on various assignments for venture capital companies and merchant bankers, such as 3Is and Lazards, operating as non-executive director and chairman for a number of diverse companies both regional and national.


Helen Sinclair.jpg

Helen Sinclair - Non-Executive Director

Helen has an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from INSEAD Business School. After working in investment banking Helen spent nearly 8 years at 3i plc focusing on MBOs and growth capital investments.

She later co-founded Matrix Private Equity (now Mobeus Equity Partners) in early 2000 raising Mobeus Income & Growth 2 VCT plc . She subsequently became managing director of Matrix Private Equity before moving to take on a portfolio of non-executive director roles in 2005.

She is currently a non-executive director of The Income & Growth VCT plc,  Mobeus Income & Growth 4 VCT plc, Gresham House Strategic plc, and is Chairman of British Smaller Companies VCT plc.  Helen was appointed to the board in January 2018.



Bill Blair - Non-Executive Director

Bill is a highly experienced investment professional focused on early stage companies. He is an Adviser to Bridge Valley Ventures, a life sciences venture fund manager. He is also a member of the Investment Advisory Board of Alderley Park Ventures and a Non-Executive Director of North East Finance where he is Chair of the Audit Committee.

Bill also advises several early-stage angel and venture-backed companies on strategy and finance. Previously, he was Director of Company Creation at Edinburgh BioQuarter and a Founder Director of its successor Sunergos Innovations. 

Prior to BioQuarter, he established Scottish Widow's Investment Partnership's (SWIP) highly successful life sciences venture capital fund and gained board experience in the UK, Europe and US. He was also responsible for SWIP's venture fund of funds portfolio.



Andrew Mitchell - Chief Executive 

Andrew was educated at Oxford and INSEAD. Following an early career in the oil industry, investment banking and management consultancy, he founded and ran his own business for almost 10 years.

He served as a non-executive director for a number of high growth companies. For five years, until 2008 he was chief executive of VC business development company NStar.




Jason Hobbs - Finance Director 

Jason graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a BA in Economics and Accounting. He is a member of the ICAEW, having qualified as a chartered accountant during his career at Ernst & Young.

After a period at Black & Decker's manufacturing plant in County Durham, Jason joined The Health Clinic, a venture capital backed company specialising in ophthalmology, laser vision correction and other health related services. As Corporate Finance Director, he was a key member of the team that successfully floated the company on the London Stock Exchange, following a period of high growth and a nationwide store opening programme.

Jason worked for Optical Express following its successful takeover of The Health Clinic, before joining NStar in June 2004.


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North East Finance (Holdco) Ltd. Registered office, North East Finance (Holdco) Ltd, First Floor 33 Grey Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6EE, Company Registration No. 07000577
“North East Finance” and “Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund” are trading names of North East Finance (Subco) Limited (Registered Number 07039229), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with reference number 718870