A company helping schools to generate income from their hireable space has secured £250,000 from Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF), backed by the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).
The funding will be used to help mitigate the effect of school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic and allow School Space to invest in its future growth. Key areas of investment will be in technology to develop an online booking system, sales and marketing, and will see the business almost double its workforce over the next three years.
School Space was created with a dual purpose: to assist schools in maximising revenue from their facilities during out of school of hours whilst actively supporting local underfunded and underprivileged community groups who struggle to find and hire adequate facilities. The business provides a revenue-share based marketing and management service to public and private schools, taking responsibility for advertising, community management and the booking and payment process.
Jemma Phibbs, School Space co-director and co-founder, said: “With the pandemic restricting community activities for some time, the impact on our business was significant. This GLIF loan comes at a crucial time as we look to move forward and further support our growth plans. The need for our service is considerable as schools seek alternative income streams in the face of budget cuts, and we are grateful to FSE for seeing the potential of both our business and social mission.”
Marco Cerrone, investment manager at The FSE Group, which manages GLIF Debt Fund on behalf of Funding London, added: “Whilst clearly impacted by covid-19 closures, School Space demonstrated instant revenue uplift post-lockdown. With 45 schools currently under contract and high repeat custom levels, Jemma and the team are well-positioned to partner with additional schools and take advantage of the growth opportunities available to them. We look forward to continuing to work with this strong, young and ambitious team as they grow the business.”
Rental of school spaces is a growing market; the number of schools in the UK is growing annually and the average school budget is now 9% (14% in deprived areas) lower than it was in 2009. Furthermore, the reduction in local authority leisure centres and community halls is driving demand for rental space. Schools need to capitalise on their underused facilities but lack the time and commercial capability to manage this, creating increased opportunity for School Space.
Maggie Rogriguez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, commented: Operating in a sector significantly impacted by the global pandemic, School Space demonstrated great resilience and ability to bounce back. We are excited to back Jemma and James and join their mission to create thriving schools at the centre of thriving communities.
GLIF is a £100m initiative to help address the SME finance gap in Greater London, promoting economic growth through enterprise and an inclusive and sustainable economy. £55m of debt funding is available, via loans between £100,000 and £1m, to early-stage and established SMEs looking to scale-up and realise their growth ambitions. GLIF is financed through the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), London Waste & recycling Board (LWARB) and Funding London’s Legacies.
The Recovery Loan Scheme is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. British Business Bank plc is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. It is not authorised or regulated by the PRA or the FCA. Visit http://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/recovery-loan-scheme