By Mark Williamson

A member of one of Scotland’s best-known business dynasties has provided backing for a new £2 million fund that will provide support for potential fast growth firms in North East Scotland.

The One Enterprise Fund is supported by the charitable trust established by Andrew Salvesen, whose great grandfather founded the Christian Salvesen whaling and shipping empire in Leith in 1846.

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The fund will provide interest free loans of up to £50,000 for ambitious businesses that are based in North East Scotland or have significant operations in the area.

The initiative is the latest in a series supported by the Opportunity North East (ONE) organisation launched by oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood in 2015.

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Supported by a £62m commitment from the Wood Foundation, ONE aims to help make the North East economy less reliant on the North Sea oil and gas industry.,which was hit hard by the sharp fall in the oil price from 2014.

“The Fund will make a difference to the pace of change in our economy and the range of businesses that it is supporting demonstrates its relevance to the regional diversification and growth agenda,” said Sir Ian of the new programme.

The fund provided loans worth around £300,000 in total to seven firms in its pilot phase. The recipients were drawn from sectors ranging from digital to farming and food and drink.

Mr Salvesen said his family trust and ONE shared a commitment to support exciting companies in the region that could demonstrate growth potential.

“£2 million of funding is a good start, but hopefully other like-minded philanthropists might support this initiative,” he noted.

The fund panel is chaired by Patrick Machray, a former chief executive of Aberdeen-based Johnston Carmichael chartered accountants.

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Mr Salvesen spent 22 years on the boards of Christian Salvesen and the Aggreko generator hire firm that was demerged from it and developed interests in the oil services and holiday sectors.