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Meet the team who will deliver The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund

Following the recent launch of the £40million Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Investment Fund by the British Business Bank, the appointed fund manager, The FSE Group, is now delighted to introduce the full team that will be managing the fund

The new Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) will provide loan and equity funding between £25,000 and £2million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to facilitate growth. The FSE Group was appointed to manage the fund following an open tender process and will be working with local partners, SWIG Finance, to deliver the investments.

The FSE Group’s CIOSIF team will be led by Stuart Nicol. Stuart has more than 20 years investment experience which includes key investment roles at Crowdcube, Octopus Investments and YFM.  At Octopus Stuart oversaw £110m of funds, with over 1,600 potential investments reviewed under his management. At Crowdcube he supported the company’s rapid growth from 12 to 80 staff with over £100 million raised for more than 100 businesses. Stuart brings an established network of relationships with venture investors and a reach that extends across sectors including creative, health tech, aerospace and renewables.

Ralph Singleton joins Stuart as senior fund manager for equity investment. Ralph has been working for FSE since 2015 and will be relocating to join the Cornwall team. He has over 30 years investment experience and is skilled in finding NEDs and advisors to help investee companies maximise their potential as well as helping them attract co-investment.  Ralph has closed six equity transactions within the last 18 months, leveraging sizable co-investment from FSE’s own business angel network, which he will look to replicate with CIOSIF.

The senior fund manager for loans is Tim Williams. Tim has over 16 years banking experience across the South West – nine of them based in Truro serving the Cornish SME community.  Most recently Tim has been a relationship manager for Lloyds, responsible for the management of SME clients in the £1-10million turnover range. During his career to date, Tim has supported over 120 SMEs across the Cornwall and Isle of Scilly region and gained an expansive network of introducer contacts.

Completing the FSE team will be Meg Salt in fund management and Brent Treloar in business development. Meg comes with over 10 years banking experience within Clydesdale Bank, most recently as a director in corporate and structured finance and previously within large corporate and acquisition finance roles. Brent has been involved in advisory, innovation and programme management services in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for more than 25 years and has extensive SME, funder & advisor contacts across the region. He joins the team from University of Plymouth where he has been helping to identify businesses with innovation potential.

The FSE team brings its experience and expertise in SME lending and equity investing, which will be complemented by the addition of SWIG Finance as a delivery partner. Active in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SME lending market for almost 30 years, SWIG Finance is the leading provider of alternative business loans across the area. The SWIG Finance team has an extensive network of local introducer and partner relationships and will work on the delivery of CIOSIF loans between £25,000 and £250,000, whilst the FSE team will focus on lending above £250,000 along with all equity investing.

SWIG Finance has recruited business manager Mike Wall to help deliver the CIOSIF fund. Mike has 40 years’ experience in personal and commercial lending, including 28 years at Barclays in Cornwall. John Peters, MD at SWIG Finance, says: “I am very excited that SWIG is working with The FSE Group, the appointed CIOSIF Fund Manager, in delivering smaller business loans as part of the £20m allocation for debt finance. Mike will, I’m sure prove to be a valuable addition to our team.”

Stuart Nicol, Head of Funds, Cornwall at The FSE Group, says: “CIOSIF is providing local businesses with a fantastic opportunity to be ambitious in their plans for growth.  With this high calibre team we are ready to make a real difference to the SME funding landscape across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and are looking forward to completing our first deal.”

Ken Cooper, MD, British Business Bank, welcomed the team saying: “It’s great to see The FSE Group appointing a dedicated and experienced team to manage the CIOSIF fund.  Local SMEs will now be able to benefit from the skills and experience of this team when seeking the investment and advice that will help them meet their growth ambitions.”

CIOSIF is a £40million initiative to support economic prosperity across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  Aimed at both early stage and more established businesses, the fund provides loans and equity investment between £25,000 and £2million to eligible companies that demonstrate the potential for high growth.  CIOSIF is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government and is delivered by the British Business Bank through appointed fund manager The FSE Group.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  

Editor’s Notes

About the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF)

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity,

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HMG grant funding.

The project is receiving up to £32m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The MHCLG is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The funds in which Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which  impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting almost £4.6bn of finance to more than 70,000 smaller businesses and participating in a further £7bn of finance to mid-cap businesses (as at March 2018).

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. It has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). This guide impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb or download/print a copy.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.

Maidenhead Based Online Performance Management Tool Secures Expansion Loan

Open Blend, the creators of a pioneering solution to the work life balance dilemma have secured £100,000 from the Thames Valley Berkshire Expansion Loan Scheme, which is managed by The FSE Group.

The Maidenhead based company has developed an online coaching tool that enables staff and managers to focus on key drivers, wellbeing and performance. Open Blend CEO & Co-Founder Anna Rasmussen explains, “By including wellbeing in every one-to-one meeting people are encouraged to improve their work life balance, known internally as their blend. In fact, the platform turns traditional one-to-ones into coaching sessions, meaning that staff are regularly looked after by their employers rather than merely expected to work their way through tasks and activities.”

The tool enables individuals to select 8 key drivers that are important both at work and at home. These then become the focus of conversations to motivate and encourage engagement and productivity. The platform technology is intuitive and easy to use, enabling managers to understand an individual’s key drivers in both a work and home context, and providing an accurate picture of their happiness, confidence and ability to manage stress. Robust coaching frameworks within the platform then support managers to have coaching led-conversations with their team members, creating actions and objectives to help them move from where they are now, to where they want to be.

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments, “The platform that Anna and her team have created is incredibly beneficial to not just the businesses using it, but also for the wellbeing and career development of the employees. Open Blend have already built a strong portfolio of clients from a wide variety of sectors including financial services, insurance, media, travel, broadcasting, FMCG and recruitment, which indicates the strong versatility of their product. We are looking forward to working with the team at Open Blend and wish them all the success for the future.”

TVB Expansion Loan Scheme is part of TVB Funding Escalator, an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator, which also includes a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

Further Finance East Funding for Sports Data Provider

Following a period of growth and product integration, TurfTrax has secured £50,000 from The East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS), managed by Finance East. TurfTrax products, headed by the GoingStick, continue to support the UK sports and leisure industry through the development and operation of weather systems, pioneering ground management technology and a data analysis platform.

TurfTrax’s suite of products combine to help customers to create and implement effective turf management and maintenance programmes and to monitor in real time the key environmental factors affecting the success of an event.

The GoingStick, which delivers an objective scientific measurement of ground conditions, was developed for the UK horseracing industry where it is a requirement at all turf courses and has since been adopted by customers around the world for thoroughbred horseracing and other equestrian applications.

The funding will be used to further develop TurfTrax technologies and to support the launch of MezureIT, a new data platform for leisure services providers and venues where accurate and imminent weather data can be used to drive sales and dictate customer movement and flow. The expansion will generate two new positions.

TurfTrax Managing Director Mike Maher said: “International interest in our products continues to increase with Australia being a particular area of growth for us. This funding will ensure we remain state-of-the-art and that the operational side of our business is able to satisfy demand.”

Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at Finance East comments: “TurfTrax first approached us for funding in 2013 and we are delighted to continue our working relationship with them.  The success of the company and uptake from the horse racing sector is extremely encouraging. We look forward to helping the company realise its growth ambitions and wish them all the success for the future.”

The RGLS is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com

Award Winning TVB Funding Escalator Increases Capacity to £11.3million

In 2013, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP invested nearly half its Growing Places Fund to create the TVB Funding Escalator to help local high-growth businesses. Managed by The FSE Group, the Funding Escalator has so far supported 51 companies and invested £8.3million of loans and equity, creating or safeguarding 594 jobs in the LEP area. In addition, £21million of private finance has been leveraged to help companies grow. The funding escalator has supported businesses from a wide range of different sectors, including Tech & Digital, Life Sciences, MedTech, Cultural & Creative and Food & Beverages.

To build on this success, the LEP has committed a further £3million to make the £11.3million an ‘evergreen fund’; and increased both the size of loans available up to £300,000 and the period up to 5 years. The increased scale of the fund will mean that it is self-sustaining so that it can continue to support SMEs in Berkshire in perpetuity. This represents a significant investment for the LEP and reinforces its determination to support SMEs in the area, from any sector, that want to grow and create wealth locally.

Robin Barnes, Programme Lead for Enterprise, Innovation & Business Growth at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP says: “We created the first funding escalator in the UK with the aim to transform the way businesses can grow by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our sub region. This increased capacity and evergreen status is a real game changer and I would encourage ambitious businesses to get in touch with The FSE Group.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “We are delighted to continue our close working relationship with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Funding Escalator is here to help support businesses looking to grow substantially in Berkshire, and we are extremely proud of our achievements over the last 5 years. This new injection of £3million allows us to press ahead in reaching even more innovative and high-quality businesses in the area.”

About The FSE Group:

The FSE Group provides tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. This includes the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, which is one of a number of Local Enterprise Partnership backed funds that The FSE Group manage. For further information about the range of products and services offered by FSE, visit www.thefsegroup.com

About Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership:

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is a company limited by guarantee; one of 38 LEPs in England competing for public funds to invest in initiatives that address barriers to economic growth. It is a strategic, business-led partnership between the private sector, local government, the community and education sectors, as well as the main business organisations. Its aim is to bring about the sustainable economic growth of Thames Valley Berkshire through the implementation of a Strategic Economic Plan and to sustain the area’s status as the most productive sub region in the UK. For more information visit www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk

£40m investment fund launched for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SMEs

The British Business Bank has today (June 28) launched the £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), aimed at boosting the local economy by providing debt and equity finance to help growing small businesses across the region.

The fund has been established in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.

CIOSIF has been designed following input from local business groups, funders, business advisers and the LEP and will provide debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million. It is expected to unlock a further £40 million of private investment.

Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, supporting more than 1 million jobs in the South West alone and 13 million across the UK. This new fund will help us deliver on the ambition set out in our modern Industrial Strategy, with investment that will ensure the region’s small businesses can access the finance they need to grow and succeed.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Capital Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “Our role is to make the finance markets work better for smaller businesses at all stages in their development. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly investment fund has been specifically designed to support growth businesses in this area and is part of a co-ordinated approach to help them realise their potential.”

Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “This fund has been a long-held ambition of the LEP and our partners and we believe it will prove transformational by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our region.”

CIOSIF is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group

The fund has been established to address specific funding needs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. There is an identified market gap in the provision of debt and equity finance, where access to finance has been identified as a much higher barrier to growth than the England average.

Half the fund (ca £20 million) will be in the form of debt finance providing loans between £25,000 and £1 million. This will be aimed at growing businesses with a viable proposal that are unable to access all the debt finance they need from commercial sources, maybe due to a lack of collateral or track record.

The other half of the fund will be in the form of equity funding from £50,000 to £2 million for growing companies. This aims to close an identified equity gap, especially in start-up, early stage and development capital. Despite having 1% of the UK’s SMEs, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have just 0.1% of all UK equity deals.

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk of follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

TVB Funding Escalator Loan for Software Solutions Business

UserReplay has been providing innovative software solutions for e-commerce since 2009 and is continuing its journey to growth with further support from Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator.

The Theale based company provides large businesses that have a strong online sales presence, with a tool to analyse user movement throughout their websites, helping to identify the cause of abandoned baskets and subsequent lost revenues.  As ecommerce continues to expand, there is an increased focus on making sure online interactions are efficient and productive. As such, the global market for Application Performance Management software is growing significantly and this rise is set to continue over the next few years.

The FSE Group, which manages TVB Funding Escalator on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has been working with UserReplay since 2013, making equity investments from both South East Seed Fund and TVB Growth Fund. During this time the company has continued to expand, including establishing a base in the US where it is making significant sales.

The FSE Group is now providing debt finance of £200,000 from TVB Expansion Loan Scheme to accelerate marketing activity, along with further technology development, to take full advantage of the market opportunity.

Ruth Peters, UserReplay CEO, comments: “The support we have received from The FSE Group has been vital to the growth of our business; since the initial FSE investment we have refined and improved our product offering so it meets the needs of our clients and this latest loan will ensure we continue to do this in line with ever-evolving ecommerce market.”

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, adds: “With client renewal rates at over 92%, UserReplay are clearly providing a competitive and sought-after product. The opportunities are significant and we are delighted to again be working with this experienced and impressive team to help them achieve their growth potential.”

The Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is a £8.3m initiative funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, which provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

£200,000 TVB Loan for Company Improving Horse Health

A Berkshire company offering products that improve the health and well-being of horses has successfully secured a £200,000 Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Expansion Loan to help it grow.

Haygain produces a range of equipment that is being hailed as essential to equine health by vets and horse owners alike. Hay, whilst indispensable to a horse’s diet, is the cause of well-known health problems in horses with 80% of stabled horses suffering airway inflammation. This often leads to respiratory issues resulting in 1 in 6 needing antibiotics. For centuries, soaking has been the traditional method for ‘cleaning’ hay but research now shows this unpleasant, labour intensive method can in fact increase bacteria counts and reduces the nutritional value of the hay.

Haygain CEO, Edzo Wisman, explains how the company has brought this process into the 21st century: “over the past decade Haygain has worked with the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), to pioneer the development of an effective technique for properly cleaning hay. Our patented hay steamers inject steam into the centre of the hay and ours is the only method proven to eliminate all mould, fungal spores and bacteria whilst maintaining nutritional value and palatability.”

The company’s series of steaming units ranges from a small portable model through to a product big enough to service larger stables and livery yards. This is complemented by additional products to support equine health including the Haygain Forager, a slow feeder developed to allow stabled horses to feed at a pace reflecting their natural grazing behaviour, thus addressing the gastro and other issues linked to horses being given distinct daily meals.

The company has already started a phase of rapid growth; as its products are becoming more well-known it has an increasing repertoire of endorsements from influencers in the equine industry as well as from veterinary professionals. The company’s impressive customer list includes a number of high profile names including leading horse trainers and stables, Olympic medal winning riders, HM The Queen, the Household Cavalry Regiment and London’s Metropolitan Police. However, with over 58million horses kept worldwide and an increasing awareness of the benefits of steaming hay, there is a considerable global market that Haygain has yet to tap into.

The £200,000 TVB Loan will be used to help Haygain take advantage of this substantial market opportunity by increasing sales and marketing activity, particularly in the US market where it is starting to gain traction. The loan will also help fund research and development activity to find a more cost effective, universal boiler that can be used across the entire range of steamers.

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Haygain has successfully developed a product range to suit all classes of horse owner, from individuals to major racing stables. Its exceptional client list and respected independent accreditation mean it is well-placed to exploit the significant growth potential in this niche market. We look forward to working with the company as it moves towards fulfilling its ambitions.”

TVB Expansion Loan Scheme is part of TVB Funding Escalator, an £8.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator, which also includes a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

The FSE Group launches new £10million Enterprise M3 Fund

More ambitious businesses from across parts of Hampshire and Surrey will be able to access vital funding to help them grow from today, as the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership launches a new £10million Funding Escalator.

The Funding Escalator, which will be managed by The FSE Group, will be available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for activities that have the potential to deliver economic growth and job creation in the Enterprise M3 area. The new fund consists of three separate products: a medium-term loan facility, an equity investment fund and a short-term trade loan facility.

Dave Axam Chair at Enterprise M3 says: “There is an evidenced lack of appropriate commercial finance for businesses that wish to scale-up, particularly for new, fast-growing companies with lots of growth potential but little trading history. The FSE Group has vast lending and investing experience in this sector and has successfully delivered SME loans and investments on our behalf since 2014. We are delighted to maintain our relationship via this new initiative and continue our work together.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “This is a welcome endorsement of the work FSE is doing across the Enterprise M3 and other LEP areas, to support high growth SMEs and help them reach their full potential. Our approach provides rounded support over and above the money itself, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our portfolio companies and ultimately, the local economies in which we operate. We are excited to be managing this new £10million of funding on behalf of Enterprise M3 LEP and look forward to offering even more high-quality funding solutions to Enterprise M3 businesses.”

About The FSE Group:

The FSE Group provides tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. This includes the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, which is one of a number of Local Enterprise Partnership backed funds that The FSE Group manage. For further information about the range of products and services offered by FSE, visit www.thefsegroup.com

About Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership – www.enterprisem3.org.uk

Enterprise M3 is a business-led Local Enterprise Partnership, one of 38 in England, which is working to secure economic growth at sub-national level. We bring together leaders from the business, public and not-for-profit sectors and provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth.

Our aim is to create the foundations on which our businesses can flourish. We strive to improve business productivity, increase jobs and maximise the number of businesses operating across Enterprise M3. We have a particular focus on improving trade links working with Invest in Surrey and Invest in Hampshire.

The Enterprise M3 LEP area stretches from the hinterland of London to the New Forest covering mid to north Hampshire, as well as, South and West Surrey. The LEP area brings together business leaders from 14 district authorities across two counties and has four major interconnected urban centres known as ‘Growth’ towns: Woking, Guildford, Farnborough and Basingstoke and five ‘Step-up’ towns: Staines-upon-Thames, Camberley, Aldershot, Whitehill and Bordon and Andover.

The councils involved in the Enterprise M3 LEP are:

Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council, Elmbridge Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council, Hart District Council, New Forest District Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Spelthorne Borough Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, Winchester City Council, Woking Borough Council

Coast to Capital Loan to Boost ‘Mud Pie’ Business

A West Sussex food firm looking to gain a bigger slice of the pastry market with its award-winning pies has secured £125,000 from the Coast to Capital (C2C) Expansion Loan Scheme to scale-up production and expand into the wholesale market.

Midhurst based Mud Foods has been producing top quality pies, made from locally sourced ingredients, for almost a decade. The business has grown steadily during that time with the majority of sales coming from regular attendance at local farmers’ markets across the South East, supplemented with some wholesale trade. Both avenues now offer expansion opportunities, as Mud owner, Christian Barrington, explains:

“At the moment we produce around 5,000-6,000 Mud pies and sausage rolls each week, which allows us to attend a number of regular weekend markets and fulfil some wholesale orders. Sales have grown steadily year on year and we know there is potential to build this further but our current production facilities are at full capacity. With this latest funding we will be able to increase capacity and more actively target the wholesale market.”

The £125,000 will be used to rearrange the existing unit and install additional cooking/freezing equipment, increasing production to around 15,000 pastry items per week. This will also enable the company to diversify its offering by adding sweet pies to the Mud Foods range.

Jeff Dober, Head of SME Debt Funds at The FSE Group, which manages the C2C Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of C2C Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments:

“Annual UK pie and pastry sales are at almost £1billion and by using only real butter in the pastry, meat from The Goodwood Estate and vegetables from other local farms, Mud Foods has gained a loyal following and carved itself a niche at the premium end of the market. The management team has now identified a significant growth prospect and we are delighted to support them in achieving the increase in production capacity necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Coast to Capital Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, a £5million initiative funded by Coast to Capital LEP. The escalator, which also includes a growth equity fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £500,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the Coast to Capital region.

For more information about the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/coast-capital-funding-escalator or contact Jeff Dober at jeff.dober@thefsegroup.com

Further RGLS Funding for Digital Services Company

A Cambridge based company providing leading digital services for medium and large companies is looking to continue its expansion with the latest in a series of Regional Growth Loans from Finance East. Intergence is an independent IT business offering tailor made services to optimise and secure the complex IT infrastructures of large, often international, organisations.

The company’s extensive blue-chip client base has exacting demands and Intergence helps them deliver a seamless service to their customers via solutions that are both cost and energy efficient. Finance East has been working with the Intergence team since 2011 to help ensure the business remains in a position where it can take advantage of the opportunities available.

Intergence Chief Executive, Peter Job, explains: “Large contracts and a protracted negotiation process, as well as a continuing need for investment to keep our offering relevant, means our funding needs cannot always be met by traditional lines of credit. In Finance East we have found a funder that looks ahead with us and provides support at times crucial to our overall development as a business. Whether funding marketing activity to aid expansion, recruitment costs to support delivery of a new contract, or development of a new product to keep us at the forefront of our field, Finance East has been there to finance our expansion.”

The latest loan of £80,000 from the Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is the fifth received by Intergence and will be used to recruit new employees to meet the requirements of two major new contract wins. This is following the successful development and trial of the new ‘Stratiam’ software which converts data from all a business’s networks into a set of visual graphics that can be viewed on one screen. The product enables the user to quickly identify any issues and take necessary action to avoid potential problems, especially useful where a central IT department needs a clear view of an entire IT infrastructure across multi-sites and multi-networks.

Stuart Ager, Finance East Senior Fund Manager, comments: “Intergence is just the sort of business the RGLS is here to support; one with a compelling product, strong track record and ambitions for growth. The management team has continued to stay ahead of market changes and keep providing a service that is attractive to its customer base, as demonstrated by its high tender success rate. We look forward to continuing to support Peter and the team through the next phase of development.”

The RGLS is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com.