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ONLINE RETAILER BUILDS ON SUCCESS WITH EM3 GROWTH LOAN

A company that has carved a niche in the online retail sector whilst helping to address the problem of construction industry waste, is the latest to receive a loan from the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, which provides finance to help businesses grow.

Builders Bay, based in Cobham, is an online marketplace devoted to all things building related, from white goods to bathroom suites and excess building supplies. Using a model similar to the likes of Amazon and eBay, the platform provides a space for the sale of both new and used items to consumers and tradespeople. As well as generating listings from independent sellers, Builders Bay ensures a buoyant marketplace by taking on a large amount of end-of-line stock from well-known suppliers such as Magnet and Porcelanosa – much of which would have previously ended up in landfill. This ‘Tk Maxx’ model brings big brand items to their customers at steep discounts while helping people to lessen their environmental impact.

Builders Bay has secured a £100,000 Enterprise M3 Growth Loan to support its next stage of development, as CEO Mike Chapman comments: “Taking the company from an idea in 2016 to a fully functioning business with growth prospects has been both challenging and rewarding. Our turnover is set to more than quadruple this year to almost £200,000 and we are looking to increase this to over £2m during the next three years. This loan will allow us to take hold of the opportunities open to us and help achieve our goals.”

The loan will be used to employ new staff, including an operations and listings manager and a customer service manager, as well as for marketing activity and further technical development.

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the Funding Escalator on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Having built the tech, developed the retailer and customer journeys and gained traction with more new suppliers coming on stream each month, Builders Bay is growing and ready to scale. With a well-connected management team in the sector and strong supply chain relationships, the business is entering this next phase of growth from a position of strength. We look forward to continuing to support Builders Bay to reach its full potential.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

Enterprise M3 Chief Executive Kathy Slack said: “Sustainability runs through the core of our developing Local Industrial Strategy, from clean growth to innovation. We are delighted to support Builders Bay whose growth aims are aligned with our own and which is providing skilled and managerial jobs to the local economy.”

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund reaches £5m milestone

More than £5 million has been invested into local businesses with the support of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) in its first full year of operation.

The figures, revealed at an anniversary event in Truro last night (Tues, Oct 29) as part of the Cornwall Festival of Business, show that the fund has so far supported 13 local businesses with £2.9m of investment, attracting a further £2.2m of private sector investment. The fund in its entirety; which is managed by The FSE Group alongside a partnership with SWIG Finance, who support the smaller business loans element of CIOSIF, has backed a wide range of sectors, from digital technology and communications to boatbuilding, manufacturing and events.

CIOSIF’s first investment was a £750,000 equity deal with Wildanet, an independent superfast internet provider, which will create around 40 jobs over three years. The mostly recently announced deal was a £850,000 loan to shipping container conversion business ISO Spaces, creating 20 jobs.

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) was launched by the British Business Bank last year in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.

 

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund – One Year On from British Business Bank on Vimeo.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, at the British Business Bank, said:Helping to create a more diverse finance market and reversing regional economic imbalances is a key objective of the British Business Bank and we’re delighted to see such a diverse range of businesses taking advantage of the availability of this investment in the first year of the fund.

“These investments also show that the fund can unlock other sources of finance to support growth, and it’s important that businesses are aware that there are more funding options available than traditional bank lending.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “The LEP worked hard with its partners to get this fund over the line because there was an identified gap in debt and equity finance in our region. It’s great to see local businesses benefitting from the fund, growing and creating jobs.”

For Ian Calvert, CEO and founder of Wildanet, the CIOSIF equity deal has enabled rapid growth of the start-up business which will shortly locate to Liskeard and aims to employ 50- staff by the end of 2021: “Without the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund we wouldn’t be here. They understood what a young start-up company needed and that for us was really refreshing, talking to very experienced people. I can highly recommend them – it’s a unique asset for Cornwall, it really is.”

And Ben Treleaven, ISO Spaces Managing Director, said the CIOSIF loan had come at a crucial point for the company, and would allow it to progress its modular hotel offering nationally: “This is an opportunity for significant growth and the funds will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and take on major new contracts at a time when traditional finance streams are not readily available to us.”

The CIOSIF provides commercial debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The fund is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.

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.

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

£300,000 LOAN TO HELP IT FRAUD PROTECTION COMPANY FOR TELECOMS SECTOR GROW

A real-time fraud protection company that has established cutting edge software to revolutionise the telecommunications industry by offering a unique fraud tracking and blocking solution for companies is the latest organisation to be supported by The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator.

Farnham based, Six Degrees Labs Limited were established in 2016 and have secured a £300,000 growth loan, which will enable the company to recruit additional resources to facilitate the growing demand for their products.

Six Degrees have created a sophisticated and effective, identification fraud prevention system which helps stop telecoms operators and their customers from losing money. Six Degrees provide their clients with RVS software which prevents direct fraudulent calls and they have also developed their own software to prevent SIMBOX fraud. SIMBOX Fraud occurs when fraudsters insert SIM cards into a server which connects 30 SIMs to the network per server. Some ‘SIMBOX networks’ have 10 or 20 of these in operation that can handle 300 to 600 concurrent fraudulent calls into the local networks. The SIMBOX software is able to monitor calls coming in and attributes a score to any potentially fraudulent numbers, once a pattern is determined the number is automatically blocked from calling.

Six Degrees have also extended the system to completely prevent telecoms customers from receiving annoying and harmful ‘Wangiri’ calls, where people are left in a missed call in the hope that the person called will return the call and be charged for premium rate or expensive international calls, from which the fraudsters receive a share of those costs. Vodafone, Three, BT and nearly all operators across the world are all experiencing high volumes of these harmful Wangiri calls for which they require an effective solution to prevent.

Six Degrees Labs Limited, Managing Director, Bryan Rowe said: “Over the last few years, Six Degrees has grown from a small software company for a couple of customers into one of the most successful real-time fraud prevention technology companies internationally. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals in the future. The funding will allow us to expand our operations into the UK market, with the relocation of our head office to Farnham.”

Derek Ellis, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said: “Six Degrees team is made up of highly skilled individuals who have an abundance of experience in the telecoms fraud industry, which puts the company in a strong position to grow in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with Bryan and his team during this exciting new chapter and wish them all the success.”

Kathy Slack, CEO, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “As the Enterprise M3 region’s growth in high-value, hi-tech sectors continues, it is crucial that cyber-security moves at the same pace. We are delighted that we can help Six Degrees, experts in this field, to overcome the growth obstacle of access to finance and so, enable them to develop further their impressive technology. It is also great news that Six Degrees are placing their confidence in the Enterprise M3 region by locating their head office here.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

Basingstoke Business Optimised for Growth with EM3 Expansion Loan

A company that specialises in ATM optimisation for the retail and banking sector has secured £200,000 from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme to fund the next stage of their business growth.

Retail and Financial Services Limited, based in Basingstoke, are filling the gap in White Label ATM solutions. Through the company’s optimisation of networks and their associated systems, ATMs which are operated and maintained by a non-bank organisation are able to run at reduced operating costs and on enhanced systems. The solutions offered can be as much as 70% cheaper than traditional ATM models and cover both long-standing and new functionality such as multi-currency needs. The companies End2End solutions and analytical tools are also able to predict machine failures, allowing their clients to replace a part before the machine is taken offline. Failure prediction is one of the factors which allows for maximum machine uptime in excess of 99% cash availability.”

Andrew Martin, CEO at Retail and Financial Services Limited, said, “The Payments marketplace is changing at a rapid speed and we see a revolution coming with cardless transactions. Our products help our clients to be part of this payments revolution by bringing them up to speed with the technology changes and ensuring they remain leading edge. This funding will allow the company to further improve our infrastructure and will also enable us to focus on expanding our ever-growing team.”

Derek Ellis, fund manager at The FSE Group, which manages the EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Andrew is one of the leading figures in the ATM world. He and his team have developed innovative software that hugely benefits not only their clients but also the end user – the general public. In a fast-paced sector, Retail and Financial Services are well equipped to continue their rapid growth journey. We are looking forward to working with them and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Retail and Financial Services are a great example of the type of business our Expansion Loan Scheme seeks to support. They are already commercially successful yet continue to grow and an Enterprise M3 cash injection can really accelerate this expansion. Retail and Financial Services are carrying out innovative, technological work which contribute to our region’s reputation in this field and as their technology enables their clients to reduce costs, they are helping other businesses to grow.”

The EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator, which also includes a short-term trade loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Retail and Financial Services visit: www.retail-bcg.com/

Shipping container conversion business will create new jobs with help from CIOSIF

A Truro company developing innovative spaces for living and working is the latest business to receive funding from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

ISO Spaces repurposes some of the world’s 14 million unused shipping containers into usable areas for commercial and community activity, as well as modular housing.

Since the business was launched in 2011 it has moved from converting containers into garden offices and gyms, to providing classrooms, commercial office space, bars and cafés, show rooms and pop-up shops for well-known brands.

The £850,000 CIOSIF loan will be used to almost double the workforce and recruit and train around 20 new staff as well as increase technical and production capacity and implement a marketing strategy to drive the growth of the business.

Ben Treleaven, ISO Spaces Managing Director, said: “Over the past eight years we have expanded our bespoke build service to meet the requirements of clients using shipping containers for many different uses. The CIOSIF loan comes at a crucial point, enabling us to progress our hotel offering, developing and deploying our new permanently portable modular product to deliver hotel units nationally over the next three to five years. This is an opportunity for significant growth and the funds will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and take on major new contracts at a time when traditional finance streams are not readily available to us.”

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group.

Tim Williams, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, added: “Having built a reputation for delivering a high-end product, ISO Spaces has developed a niche solution that meets both the practical and aesthetic needs of its clients. The management team is in a strong position to take on the growing demand for its units and we look forward to supporting them in realising their ambitions to become a £10m turnover company in the next two to three years.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “ISO Spaces is a fantastic example of a Cornish business creating high-quality employment for local talent. The company already has five Falmouth University graduates on its 23-strong payroll and the new jobs, set to be filled in the coming 18 months, will provide further opportunities in the county.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank commented: “This loan demonstrates how CIOSIF is once again assisting a local business to realise its growth potential and create jobs. Finding growth finance at the right time can be challenging for a small, expanding enterprise and we are delighted to see the investment fund doing exactly what it was set up to deliver.”

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.

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

Peter Wroe Joins The FSE Group Board

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund manager that provides loan and equity funding for small ambitious growing businesses, is pleased to announce that Peter Wroe has joined their board of directors. Peter is a qualified accountant and has formerly worked for BT PLC, holding senior roles across finance, procurement, governance and public sector delivery. Peter relocated to Cornwall 8 years ago and is currently the Finance Director at The Eden Project and a Non-Executive Director at Visit Cornwall.

Commentating on the appointment, Robert Spencer, Chairman of The FSE Group, said, “We’re delighted to welcome Peter to our board of directors. Over the last 12 months we have grown rapidly and now have over £140million under management. In Peter we have someone who is highly experienced, with a broad commericial background as a finance director. His knowledge and experience will be of great help as we continue our growth journey.”

Peter Wroe, said, “I am pleased to have been invited to join the Board of the FSE Group. The work that FSE do as a Community Interest Company across the South East, East of England and South West is vitally important to help businesses grow, and the economy to prosper. I look forward to being part of the FSE team to help our public and private stakeholders to succeed in achieving further significant growth in the future.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

For more information about The FSE Group visit: www.thefsegroup.com

Whitehall Finance Closes Funding Round

Supply chain finance Fintech, Whitehall Finance have successfully completed their latest funding round. The round includes investment from Cirdan Capital Management and The FSE Group, through the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund. Founded in 2015, Whitehall Finance provide innovative supply chain finance, unlocking the potential for businesses and suppliers to obtain immediate payment for their approved invoices.

Colin Levins CEO of Whitehall Finance, commented, “We are delighted to welcome our new investors who share our belief in the opportunity to make Supply Chain Finance and dynamic discounting a mass market product. Our product provides a new flexible source of finance for SMEs and also enables larger corporates, local authorities and educational institutions to pay their suppliers early and share in the benefit of providing this fully flexible service to their suppliers, thus creating a risk-free treasury alternative to placing surplus funds on deposit with banks or money market depositors.”

Simon Labahn, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, commented, “We are pleased to back Whitehall Finance in this funding round. In Colin and the Whitehall team they have a highly experienced founder and team who have previously scaled a business within this sector. We are excited about the market opportunity and the vision for the product moving forward. We wish them all the success for the future.”

TVB Growth Fund is part of Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, an £11.3m 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 £50,000 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 Simon Labahn simon.labahn@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608533.

Six-figure Sum to Help Music Festival Organiser to Grow

An events company organising music festivals, private functions and other events near Bude is the latest company to be supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

The Wyldes, which held its first festival in 2008, has successfully secured a large six figure CIOSIF loan.

The Wyldes hosts a number of music concerts at its farm-based site with its main event, the Leopallooza Festival, having grown substantially year on year with attendance and revenues doubling in the last five years. The event now attracts a line-up of top-quality music and comedy artists.

The Wyldes co-founder, Sam Dunnett, said: “Over the last decade, Leopallooza has grown from a small event for our friends and family into one of the most successful festivals in the region. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals, but it is not easy in this unique industry. We are thrilled to have secured this CIOSIF loan, which enables us to improve the site, invest in new equipment and increase and upskill our team.”

Tim Williams, fund manager at the FSE Group, said: “It is difficult for any SME to grow without financial support and advice; CIOSIF can make a big difference in providing the funding required, which might not be readily available from traditional finance sources. The Wyldes has a strong team who have gained considerable experience in this niche sector and are ready to take the business to the next level. We are happy to be working with them through this next stage of growth.”

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group.

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, added: “The Wyldes has established itself as one of the premier events venues in Cornwall, attracting global acts and making a significant contribution to the cultural economy. Their use of local contractors means there is a direct benefit to local businesses from events and we’re pleased the fund has been able to support them.”

Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, added: “This loan is helping The Wyldes to invest in their infrastructure and their team, which will underpin future events and future growth. It’s great news for music fans in Cornwall and beyond, and will boost the visitor economy.”

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 LEP and HM Government.

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

£200,000 LOAN TO HELP IT PLATFORM FOR HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY GROW

An IT company that has developed cutting edge software to revolutionise the hospitality industry by providing an innovative ordering payments and E-money banking solution is the latest company to be supported by The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator. Staines based, Cibo Pay who were established in 2015, have successfully secured a £200,000 expansion loan to help them realise their growth ambitions.

Cibo have created an integrated cloud-based food & beverage and retail venue management system, which allows venues to control everything from one platform. This includes features that allow users to manage inventory, staff rotas, purchasing requirements, marketing and a full suite of reporting tools. The company’s platform is already being used by over 100 clients with more being added on a monthly basis.

Cibo Pay’s Chief Executive Officer, Faridoon Qazi said: “Over the last few years, Cibo has grown from a small software company for a couple of clients into one of the most successful hospitality technology companies internationally. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals in the future. The funding will allow us to expand our operations with the creation of a series of marketing and sales positions across the company, as well as enabling us to purchase new equipment to ensure that we remain as market leaders in this fast-paced sector.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said: “Cibo Pay’s team is made up of highly skilled individuals who have an abundance of experience in the hospitality and payments sector, which puts the company in a strong position to grow in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with them through this next stage of growth and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, CEO, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “We are delighted that our Funding Escalator finance is ensuring Cibo Pay can grow and maintain its position as a trailblazing company. Our vision to deliver prosperity with innovation involves financially supporting innovative companies, like Cibo Pay, to reach their full potential which in turn, supports our vision of establishing our region as a global, hi-tech hub.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

Senior Ex Natwest Banker joins FSE Group Board of Directors

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund manager that provides loan and equity funding for small ambitious growing businesses, is pleased to announce that Paul Marston has joined their board of directors. Paul is the former Managing Director of NatWest Bank for the South of England & Wales.  He was also previously the Managing Director at Lombard and was a Board Director at JCB Finance.  More recently, he has been involved with the setting up of two Challenger Bank business divisions.

Commenting on Paul Marston’s appointment Robert Spencer Chairman of the FSE Group said, “Paul joins at an exciting time for The FSE Group, with the recent launch of the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) we now have over £140million under management. Paul’s 27 years of experience in lending to small businesses as well as setting up two new banks will prove very valuable as our company continues to grow. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Paul Marston said, “I am delighted to have been invited to join the Board of the FSE Group. Their role in bridging a gap in funding for small and growing businesses who may not be able to get bank finance is well known and the funding is crucial for the development of these companies. I look forward to helping the business to succeed in achieving further significant growth in the future.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

For more information about The FSE Group visit: www.thefsegroup.com