A business fund set up to lend £50m over five years to firms in Northern Ireland has announced its first investment.
News of the first beneficiary of the Growth Loan Fund comes as Business Secretary Vince Cable unveiled a 'business bank' for the UK.
The Northern Ireland fund, which is managed by WhiteRock Capital Partners, is providing loan finance to Brookvent, a ventilation systems manufacturer in Dunmurry.
Brookvent managing director Declan Gormley confirmed the firm had received £425,000.
"It helps to accelerate our growth strategy in two key areas - overseas markets and research and development.
"It will also meet working capital requirements for the business, which has grown significantly in the last period."
The firm employs 49 people and recently opened offices in Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania, to look after Baltic markets.
Mr Gormley said the fund would help all local businesses. "Where banking liquidity is extremely constrained, this is a very helpful alternative means of funding."
The company produces ventilation systems for private and social housing in the UK, Ireland and abroad.
WhiteRock Capital Partners was set up by Braveheart Investment Group and consortium partners NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers to manage the Growth Loan Fund in Northern Ireland.
The fund has £50m at its disposal, provided by Invest NI and pension organisation the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).
Paul Millar, chief investment officer of WhiteRock, said: "We are delighted to complete our first transaction and provide working capital finance to Brookvent which will help them to grow and increase sales."
To qualify for the growth loan fund, which lends between £50,000 and £500,000, companies must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth potential and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors.
Loans will be typically unsecured and personal guarantees will not be sought.
William McCulla, Invest NI's director of corporate finance, said: "In these challenging times, this resource is a practical solution to boost business confidence and help companies such as Brookvent realise their growth potential."
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Vince Cable used the Liberal Democrats' party conference to unveil a government business bank to boost lending for SMEs.
A spokesman for the Department of Business in Westminster said the bank would work across the UK.
In what an aide hailed as a "big win" for the Liberal Democrat, a new arms-length institution with the aim of opening up £10bn of finance will be set up.
The state cash - which it is hoped will be matched by private finance - will be found from existing budgets.