News

Media Enquiries Please contact Tom Clarke
Tel: 01276 608513
Email: tom.clarke@thefsegroup.com

TVB Funding Escalator Loan for Natural Sports Nutrition Range

A company bringing an innovative product to the sports health and nutrition market is the latest business to benefit from a Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator loan, which provides government backed funding to help local businesses grow.

Reading based Macacha Health have created an all-natural, plant-based protein powder that is both organic and vegan. With the sports nutrition market dominated by products focusing on muscle gain and having a largely male appeal, Macacha founder, Inés Hermida, was keen to offer something different. Having spent several years in charge of nutritional supplements at the UK division of the world’s biggest health food retailer, Inés had witnessed the distinct lack of a high quality protein product that could tick all the right boxes, as she explains:

“The majority of protein powders contain artificial, genetically modified and chemically processed ingredients. When I set up Macacha, my vision was to create a more inclusive product that would appeal equally to women as well as men, supporting a high-energy lifestyle without a primary focus on muscle mass – all whilst being the cleanest and most natural on the market. I am pleased to say that, working with a leading natural supplements nutritionist to achieve the right blend of proteins and health boosting botanicals, we have succeeded in this aim.”

With the protein powders now available in more than 85 retail stores, including listings in all of the premium UK health food chains, Macacha is set to expand significantly over the next three years. The £50,000 TVB loan will be used to scale the marketing operation and support roll-out into further UK stores during 2018. This year will also see the addition of four new products to the Macacha offering. Whilst focusing initially on a UK wide expansion and increasing the product range, Inés and the team are also positioning Macacha to take advantage of the $15 billion global sports nutrition market, 75% of which is made up by UK and US consumers.

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the loan scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) comments: “By establishing the product range in premium health food stores, Macacha is targeting a different kind of customer to the big players in protein supplements. Inés has used her wealth of experience in this sector to create a distinct brand to reflect this difference – one its target market can identify with. We are excited to be supporting the company to achieve its ambitious growth plans.”

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 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.

Dolphin Alarms Driving Pool Safety with Innovative Alarm System

A Berkshire based business looking to tackle pool safety is the latest company to benefit from the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator.

Dolphin Alarms, which has been developing the current model of its hi-tech alarm for the last two years and secured £30,000 in March 2017 to enable final configuration of the product. With a successful development product, Dolphin Alarms are launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise production funding to bring their advanced Dolphin Aquasonic swimming pool alarm to market.

The unique system uses sonar technology to sound an alarm if a child (or other non-swimmer) wearing the Dolphin wrist or waist band, enters the water. Not only will the alarm sound at the poolside, but it will also transmit via wireless technology to a receiver placed elsewhere within its 80 metre range. The product is the only pool alarm to use sonar technology; other alarms on the market use wave detection or wireless technology which each has its own restrictions and disadvantages. This results in the Dolphin alarm being the safest pool alarm in the world.

John Barstead, Dolphin founder and CEO, says: “we have been working with a team at Newcastle University to develop a leading class product, offering comprehensive features and functionality that is unavailable elsewhere on the market. In the USA, our primary market, death by drowning is the highest cause of unintentional death for children aged 1-4 and remains the second highest cause up to 14 years old. For every death there are many more who suffer non-fatal injuries, often resulting in permanent brain injury. We hope that by providing a more effective product that addresses the flaws in those already available, we can help to reduce these figures and make pools safer.”

With 75% of children’s drownings occurring at a private residence, Dolphin will focus on the private pool and spa market whilst exploring opportunities in the hotel, resort and holiday villa sectors. Pool installation is a growing market with the USA seeing 5% growth, representing over half a million pools, in 2016. Other geographical territories with high numbers of private pools include Australia, South Africa and Europe, all of which will be targeted by Dolphin.

Cheryl Weeks, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “Dolphin has invested heavily in research and development, resulting in a first-rate alarm system that has been endorsed by the Royal Life Saving Society and the Amateur Swimming Association. This loan will help the team take the next step towards commercialisation and position the company for further external investment. We look forward to supporting them at this crucial stage in their growth.”

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 TVB Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator/ or contact Cheryl Weeks at cheryl.weeks@thefsegroup.com tel: 07866 835143.

Day Centre for Young Adults with Disabilities Launched with Finance East Support

A business dedicated to improving the lives and experiences of young adults with disabilities has launched a new day centre and respite facility with the help of a Regional Growth Loan from Finance East. The Marigold Centre in Southend has been set up by local company, Access Anyone, to meet the demand for a centre that satisfies the needs of this customer group.

Access Anyone was set up in 2002 to provide transport for disabled young people when co-founder, Jim Milligan, recognised that the taxi firms he was working for did not adequately provide for this market. With its focus on delivering specialist services from trained drivers the business has grown to now employ 125 drivers and transport assistants, operating 61 specialist transport minibuses and four ambulances. Whilst running the transport business it became apparent to Jim and other members of the team that once young people with disabilities left school, they were not being effectively catered for by the existing facilities.

Jim explains: “We found ourselves transporting young adults to facilities that were clearly more suited to an older demographic and felt there was an obvious gap in the market for a day centre that could offer activities particularly suited to the 18-25 age group within an environment that would appeal to this younger generation. In 2013 we opened our Access Anyone@Woodside day centre in Leigh-on-Sea, which was designed specifically with this age group in mind.”

The specialist centre, which offers arts, crafts and life skills within an internet café style environment alongside an interactive garden, has been a huge success and is regularly fully booked with a significant waiting list. Furthermore, of the 450 disabled children being transported by the company  to and from school each day, there are around 35 reaching leaving age every year, many of whom wish to move on to the Access Anyone centre.

In order to meet this growing demand the company secured The Marigold Centre site in the conservation area of Westcliffe-on-Sea from Southend Council earlier in the year and has now completed its refit ready to take in the young adults who, along with their parents and carers, have been eagerly awaiting its launch. As well as providing the same popular facilities currently available at Woodside, the Marigold Centre – which has four times the capacity of Woodside – will also offer respite care facilities to allow overnight and short stay breaks.

Upon initial introduction from NatWest, the refurbishment and fit out of the Marigold Centre has been funded in part by £200,000 from the Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS), managed by Finance East, along with funding from NatWest bank to support the remainder of the costs. Francis Kenealy, Finance East Fund Manager comments: “The Access Anyone management team has identified a clear market need and developed an integrated solution to meet this.  By offering a joined up approach with transport, day centres and overnight respite they are providing a unique market offering in the local area. We are pleased to support them in the launch of this sought after centre and look forward to working with them to grow their offering further.”

Jemma Openshaw, NatWest Healthcare Relationship Manager, Essex, adds: “Jim Milligan has shown true passion and determination in order to make his vision of supporting young adults with disabilities a reality. It has been a privilege to work with Jim to help support the refit of The Marigold Centre and I am delighted with the feedback that Jim has given me with respect to the introduction to Francis from Finance East. I look forward to continuous collaboration with Finance East and NatWest.”

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (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 Francis Kenealy on 07825 699435 or email francis.kenealy@thefsegroup.com.

TOWER Cold Chain Solutions Secures New Funding

TOWER Cold Chain Solutions announces major new funding to support rental fleet development.

TOWER Cold Chain Solutions, the Reading, UK-based provider of temperature-controlled containers to the pharmaceutical industry, announces the completion of a £3m funding initiative designed to support the development of new stock, new sales support and new hubs.

TOWER rents its range of KryoTrans (KT) containers from hubs in Europe, the US and across SE Asia and has seen rapid growth for its KTM range of modular containers, offering flexible, powerful temperature control for palletised loads. Chris Pollard, CEO of TOWER, comments “2017 was a year of significant achievement for TOWER, on the one hand generating important new customers for the KTM and developing our global hub network, and on the other attracting strategic investment that backs the management team’s vision”.

Just Arne Storvik, a long-term shareholder in TOWER who has arranged and supported the funding round, said “Those of us who have been involved in TOWER have never doubted the ultimate potential for the company, but it has been the successful introduction of the KTM that has opened up the market for TOWER and made it possible to generate the kind of financial support that will be necessary to meet and maintain support for the rapidly-growing demand”.

Tor Erland Fyksen, a significant investor in this funding round notes that “TOWER is well positioned in the temperature-controlled transportation market with thoroughly tested products and services, which are environmentally friendly, and which can be uniquely scaled and adapted to meet most specific requirements whether at the start, middle or the end of the journey, adding to our competitive offering”.

Julie Silvester, Head of Equity Funds for the FSE Group, which manages the TVB Growth Fund on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said “We are delighted to show our continued support to Chris and the TOWER team. The company has grown significantly since our initial investment back in 2016 and it is great to see the success of the new facilities in China, Singapore and the United States. We look forward to working closely with TOWER to further assist them in achieving their full growth potential.”.

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 Growth Fund, 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 TOWER Cold Chain Solutions:

TOWER Cold Chain Solutions’ range of passive KryoTrans thermal containers provides a solution to reduce the total cost of shipping. KryoTrans containers are not only flexible but extremely robust and are based on a passive system that effectively eliminates any risk of human error once conditioned. TOWER provides a developing global infrastructure, with hubs creating a flexible service across Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific region.

New Technology Tackles Renewable Energy Inefficiencies and Helps Create Sustainable Buildings

A company aiding production of green energy in the commercial environment has successfully secured a £200,000 East of England Regional Development Loan to take advantage of growth opportunities in the market.

Cambridge based Arriba Technologies has been designing and building algorithm driven heat pumps for the commercial refrigeration market since 2003. Over the last two years the company has broadened its focus to encompass wider commercial energy integration and has developed its innovative Volt-Hub: an electronic, software controlled power drive box capable of moving electricity around an internal grid more efficiently than any other system on the market.

Arriba’s integrated offering connects the energy generated by solar panels and batteries to its unique hub and converts it without the standard 20% power loss experienced with traditional systems, meaning that more renewable energy can be put to use across a range of outputs.

Steve Connolly, Arriba founder and CEO, explains: “Our technology provides lower carbon and lower cost energy that can be used in a number of ways from commercial refrigeration to electric vehicle chargers. A big area for us is the drive towards zero-carbon buildings; by linking our Volt-Hub to the internal wiring system of a building, we can deliver sustainable energy for use within that building. Examples of this can be seen at installations in Cambridge and Chelmsford where our systems use energy generated within each building to provide cooling, heating, lighting and water pumping services. Carbon savings in excess of 70% can be attained and in the event of an external power failure, the stored power could maintain these services for up to 24 hours.”

With an increasing focus on the sustainability of commercial buildings, there is significant demand for an integrated product that can bring such significant carbon reductions. The company is already operating in the NHS, office buildings, supermarket and food manufacturing sectors and has received interest from a number of major UK and overseas buyers. In view of this strong and growing pipeline, the regional development loan will assist the recruitment of key employees to convert sales and meet operational demand as well as extend market traction and support ongoing product development.

Francis Kenealy, Fund Manager at Finance East which manages the Regional Growth Loan Scheme, comments: “Steve’s technical expertise and commitment to innovation has paid off with the Volt-Hub, which was developed in response to a clear gap in the existing technology.  As a producer of the only system of this kind, now commercially proven to deliver both lower energy costs and a significantly reduced carbon footprint, Arriba is on the cusp of exponential growth and we are delighted to be working with them to achieve their growth potential.”

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (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 Francis Kenealy on 07825 699435 or email francis.kenealy@thefsegroup.com.

Newbury Business Reducing Carbon Emissions with TVB Expansion Loan

A Newbury based business has secured a £200,000 loan from the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator to help it expand into areas that will benefit the environment.

Torftech has been producing TORBED* processors for over 25 years and is highly regarded throughout the sectors where the processors are in use. The technology was originally developed to improve processing efficiency in the manufacture of vermiculite mineral. It has subsequently been applied across a broad range of industries, where the precision and control offered by the technology offer significant benefits. The greatest concentration has been in food processing, including snack food applications where the TORBED equipment allows the use of less fat whilst retaining superior flavour and quality.

Torftech has also been operating in the waste reprocessing and biomass sectors and it is specifically in these areas, with their potential for significant ecological impact, the company is looking to expand further. In the field of sewage, animal waste and sludge disposal, Torftech is leading the way with reactors that use energy from the waste itself to process the waste and in certain circumstances producing a biochar side product which has extensive uses in soil improvement and remediation.

In biomass the environmental effect can be even greater, as finance director, Andrew Bride, explains: “In addition to production of biochar from biomass, a key focus for us is rice-husk fuelled power generation. Our processors have proven technological capabilities that can offer significantly reduced carbon emissions over coal-fired generation. An assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change forecasts emissions savings of over 50,000 tonnes per year from one plant. To put this into context, it is estimated that the average UK household’s carbon footprint is around eight tonnes. If we were to realise our current pipeline alone, we could reduce CO2 emissions by millions of tonnes per year.”

The green impact of the technology extends further with its elimination of the production of crystalline silica rice husk ash, which is highly carcinogenic – the only technology on the market with this capability. Combining this environmental superiority with enhanced functionality, compact design and long life span (one processor has been in continuous use since installation in 1989), Torftech is well-established to take advantage of the increasing opportunities it faces, particularly in light of ever tightening environmental legislation.

The expansion strategy focuses on a move away from bespoke solutions in favour of rolling out existing Torftech technology across key sectors where replication is appropriate. To realise this, the company is looking to grow its sales and supporting staff, increasing the team by two-thirds over the next two years. The TVB Expansion Loan will be used to enable this as well as marketing the existing TORBED products.

Cheryl Weeks, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), says: “With a raft of proven, patented technology that can be applied across a broad spectrum of industries, Torftech now has a key opportunity to exploit its past experimental and bespoke activity for repeated applications. We are pleased to be supporting them as they realise their growth ambitions.”

The Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is a £8.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire. The escalator, which includes four different loan schemes and a growth equity fund, provides eligible companies – from start-up to established – with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

*TORBED is a registered trademark of Mortimer Technology Group Ltd

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Cheryl Weeks cheryl.weeks@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607303.

Recruitment Software Tool Completes New Funding Round

ThriveMap, a software tool that measures culture fit between people and teams, is the latest company to receive investment from the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund. The Croydon based venture completed a £281,000 funding round which includes £80,000 of angel monies facilitated by The FSE Investor Network.

ThriveMap originated from TalentRocket a recruitment marketplace that connected top talent to culture conscious organisations. As a marketing device they created a ‘culture fit tool’ to help candidates better understand how they liked to work and which companies they would be best suited to. This tool generated such significant interest from companies looking to recruit that the decision was made to make the tool the sole focus of the business.

It’s a big market opportunity with latest studies indicating that 46% of new hires fail within 18 months, however, only 11% of these are down to people lacking the technical ability to perform in the role. Most of the time it’s down to softer skills such as culture fit.

Chris Platts, CEO at ThriveMap, comments: “HR talks about ‘company culture’, but we know that each team works in a unique way.” ThriveMap goes beyond the usual screens for culture fit by actually measuring how teams work and comparing this to a candidate’s preferred working style. ThriveMap through its unique algorithm, is able to assist employers when making crucial people decisions, which in turn massively reduces the chances of a cultural mismatch. “This investment round comes at a hugely exciting time for the company, as we look to scale up our team and focus on driving market awareness of ThriveMap.” adds Platts.

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group commented, “We are thrilled to add ThriveMap to our portfolio of companies that we have supported through the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund. Chris and his team saw an opportunity to advance the recruitment and staff retention process and have grabbed it with both hands. By enabling companies to accurately plot their existing workforces’ culture, they can hire new employees with the best chance of seamlessly joining the team, which saves a company time and money. We wish them all the best for the future and look forward to helping them reach their future goals.”

About The FSE Group:

The Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund is part of the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, a £5million initiative funded by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £500,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/coast-capital-funding-escalator or contact Avent Bezuidenhoudt at avent.bezuidenhoudt@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608526.

For more information about ThriveMap visit: www.thrivemap.io

Basingstoke Business Secures Expansion Loan

MARsoftware Limited, the Hampshire based business which offers a medication adherence mobile platform, has successfully secured an expansion loan from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme. Established in 2009, MARsoftware provides bespoke software to assist pharmacies and care homes when dispensing medication, allowing greater safety when managing a patient’s medication.

Earlier this year the company released their new product, YOURmedPack. This is a small, discrete and fully-portable medpack. The pharmacy-dispensed pack contains all of a patient’s medication for a week, pre-organised into individual rounds throughout the day, based on their personal schedule. The medpack prompts users both visually and verbally to take each medication round, the pack can also alert a patients personal/community support worker in real-time if they ever forget to take their medication.

The £100,000 expansion loan will be used to scale-up the business, with the focus on a new sales and marketing division. The company will also be establishing a presence in the brand new DeskLodge facility, in the heart of the vibrant, innovative community, located in Basingstoke’s Enterprise Zone in Basing View.

David Appleby, Managing Director at MARsoftware, “Our new product YOURmedPack is an in-expensive way for pharmacies and care homes to easily monitor their patient’s medications. By enabling professionals to track when tablets are taken, and be alerted when they are not, there is peace of mind offered to patients and their loved ones. The ease this brings to the process of medication means less room for error. The secure and easy online ordering system safely cuts the time it usually takes to reorder prescriptions while the real time medication monitoring platform improves patient engagement. As well as health benefits YOURmedPack also saves money for everyone involved as there is no need for physical interaction for the pills to be given. With this funding we will look extend our market share in the UK and also look to replicate our success here by establishing ourselves overseas.”

Dr Mike Short CBE, Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Enterprise M3 LEP area has a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurs who keep pushing the boundaries of technology-enabled solutions and we are committed to supporting their growth ambitions. We are delighted that MARsoftware has secured our Expansion Loan and also established presence in one of our Enterprise Zone sites. This will no doubt support their aspirations to grow, continue to innovate and create more jobs.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, “Through their bespoke software David and the MARsoftware team offer the only end-to-end solution for mobile medical packs. With an alarming third of people forgetting to take their medication, the MARsoftware medpacks offer a great remedy to reduce this significantly. They have an exceptional product that will not only benefit pharmacies and the care home sector but also have a huge impact on patients’ wellbeing. We are delighted to be supporting the company through their next phase of growth and are excited to be part of their ongoing journey.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £5.5m initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. It includes a growth equity fund and provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding of £50,000 to £200,000 for activities delivering high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-funding-escalator or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

For more information about MARSoftware visit: www.marsoftware.com

Notes to Editor:

“Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

Further information:

If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing NewsDesk@communities.gsi.gov.uk in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.

Some additional key facts:

There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England

The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.

LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects informed by detailed analysis of the most pressing economic needs in each of their areas, including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.

TVB Growth Fund Investment Helps get Communities Moving with Beat the Street

A Reading company developing initiatives to get the inactive more active has secured a £175,000 investment from Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Growth Fund. The investment is part of a £900,000 funding round to support the overall growth of the business.

As levels of obesity, diabetes and depression continue to rise, promoting physical activity is becoming an ever more central part of public health strategy. Led by Dr William Bird, MBE, a committed conservationist and practising GP who has been working to combat inactivity for more than two decades, Intelligent Health increases the physical activity levels of a town or city by engaging the community in its Beat the Street award winning programmes.

Beat the Street smart cards and fobs are distributed via schools, libraries, leisure centres etc., which can then be used to join in outdoor activity as part of a community-wide game, run in conjunction with local councils and other organisations. Participants score points for themselves and their teams by tapping the card against Beat Box Sensors placed on lampposts across the area. By targeting a whole community at once and encouraging team competition e.g. within schools, Intelligent Health has achieved high numbers signing up to its programmes and can demonstrate real impact in terms of increased activity levels.

Dr Bird explains: “The motivation to engage in and continue with a programme like Beat the Street is greatly influenced by peer activity. In schools for example, even the least active members of the class often want to be involved if their peers are taking part, which is then carried into the home where parents, grandparents etc. are encouraged to join in. This has proved highly successful in getting the least active individuals from more deprived areas more active.”

Involving harder to reach families is an important target for public health agencies and a key benefit of Beat the Street. Intelligent Health focuses on helping its customers to not only engage these groups, but also keep them active for longer. After the initial Beat the Street programme has acted as a catalyst to get people moving, Intelligent Health supports community stakeholders in transport, health, education etc. in making relevant policy and strategy decisions to maintain active communities.

The latest funding round will be used to scale the team, further develop the technology and support the move into territories, initially Europe, to be followed by the US and Middle East.

Simon Labahn, Fund Executive at The FSE Group which manages TVB Growth Fund on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “We are thrilled to be part of this funding round which will accelerate the growth of Intelligent Health. The management team is highly experienced and dedicated to increasing physical activity and improving health on a mass scale. The company has good levels of repeat business and a strong pipeline within the UK, along with a number of successful programmes in Austria. They are now ready to take steps to expand this across Europe and we look forward to supporting them in this endeavour.”

TVB Growth Fund is part of Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, an £8.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire. The escalator, which also includes four separate loan schemes, provides eligible companies – from start-up to established – 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 Simon Labahn simon.labahn@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608533.

Croydon Company Secures C2C Loan for Sports Concussion Management Tool Roll-out

A business helping to manage sporting injuries at grassroots level has secured a Coast to Capital Expansion Loan. Croydon based Return2Play (R2P) will use the funds to support full roll-out of their existing product as well as expand the offering across further sports and injuries.

The brainchild of Dr Sam Barke – a sports doctor – and Nick Somers, Return2Play was developed as a web-based tool to manage incidences of concussion in amateur Rugby Union. Both keen former players and now with connections to the youth sport, their own experiences left them concerned about the welfare of players, particularly children, following head injuries. Despite comprehensive guidelines issued by World Rugby in how to manage a suspected concussion, it was evident that no single system existed to monitor the traumas occurring across all sports in schools and clubs.

Sam explains: “The Rugby Football Union guidelines give a clear pathway to be followed after a concussion to ensure symptoms are recognised and players don’t return to the game too soon. However, the logistics of making sure the relevant people are kept informed, the right advice is received at the right time, tracking symptoms during recovery and being certified fit by an appropriate person can be hard to keep on top of, particularly when an individual is playing in more than one setting and, in some cases, more than one sport. Our software provides a platform where these details can be easily entered by players or parents and made available to coaches, teachers etc. across all relevant environments.”

The concussion recovery pathway are now followed by many sports with a significant risk of concussion and across the education sector. The R2P platform has been developed to reflect this pathway, ensuring players take all of the necessary steps over the required timeframe to allow them to resume play safely. As well as helping to make sure player health comes first, the platform also gives a clear audit trail for compliance purposes.

The Coast to Capital Expansion Loan Scheme is funded by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Having already been awarded a grant from Coast to Capital LEP to develop the product for other concussion risk sports, the company will now use its loan to take on new staff, capitalise on opportunities in the pipeline, further develop the multi-sports product and look at the potential to expand across different injury types.

Nick Somers, CEO, explains: “Return2Play created 2 new full-time roles in 2017 in response to increased membership numbers from UK schools and clubs. We announced this week that we had expanded internationally and partnered with our first overseas National Governing Body and I look forward to confirming similar arrangements in a number of countries in the coming months. I have every confidence that our innovative work will see some strategic alliances formed in 2018 with firms which also have an interest in supporting grassroots sports to thrive. The FSE Group has invested a great deal of time to understand exactly what Sam and I want for Return2Play and I’m certain that the Coast to Capital loan is the right solution for us. I would urge any company seeking to capitalise on opportunities and requiring funding to approach Jon Cornell.”

Jon Cornell, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the expansion loan scheme on behalf of Coast to Capital LEP, says: “With an excellent depth of knowledge and contacts within Rugby Union, the Return2Play team has developed a unique product to fill an evident gap. They are already working with Hong Kong Rugby Union, some senior clubs and a number of prominent schools to promote transparency in concussion management. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they seek to replicate this success across other sports.”

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 Jon Cornell at Jon.Cornell@thefsegroup.com tel: 07786 912674.

Find out more about Return2Play here: www.return2play.org.uk and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube