The global pandemic COVID-19, has been described as the worst economic crisis for 90 years, hitting UK SMEs particularly hard. Many were forced to furlough their employees or cease trading altogether.
No doubt the months ahead will be challenging, in ways that could not previously have been predicted. In these uncertain times, whilst the road to recovery is a long one, it is important to remember that UK SMEs are both resilient and creative.
Despite the pandemic and difficulties faced by Cornish SMEs, The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) has continued to support eligible businesses in the region, from a wide range of sectors.
SMEs have been able to secure either debt or equity funding to help their business grow and succeed. Over the past few months during lockdown, CIOSIF has completed four new deals:
Penryn based Red Planet Publishing Ltd an independent publishing house, producing books, e-books and music (£80,000 debt)
Bude based Service Robotics Ltd created the UK’s first companion robot, designed to support vulnerable and elderly people (£300k CIOSIF equity)
Penryn based Glas Data Ltd developed a data management and decision support tool for agriculture (£140k CIOSIF equity)
Codices Interactive Ltd designed an interactive video platform for live streaming (£250k equity)
Three follow-on investments also completed during the pandemic with more deals expected to complete in the next quarter.
Redruth based Wildanet Ltd, received further investment which will enable them to continue with the roll out of high-speed broadband across the county
Truro based Clinical Designs Technologies Ltd received follow-on funding to assist them with the rollout of their Urine Testing System both in the UK and abroad
Truro based software company, Colateral (formerly known as Swoop Applications Ltd) received follow-on funding to support their continued Growth
As well as deal completions, the CIOSIF team are poised, ready and available to enable SMEs in the region to get back on track, achieve accelerated growth post COVID-19 whilst adapting their business to the current “new normal.” Their regular informative webinars, advice and support groups have permitted them to provide this level of care to existing clients, whilst also reaching out to the wider region
Ralph Singleton, Head of Fund at The FSE Group, adds: “Over the past two years,The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Fund has supported 23 local businesses with £5.4m of investment and enabled a further £4.2m of external investment, bringing total investment into the region via CIOSIF of £9.6m. This investment has led to the creation of 82 new jobs within the region. The fund has invested in a wide range of sectors including digital technology, healthcare, artisan baking, online retail, support services, recreational activities and manufacturing.
The fund has also spent considerable effort helping companies become “investment ready” which can take time but will provide better long-term opportunities for the Company, the Fund and Cornwall.”
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 The FSE Group.
CIOSIF is supported 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.