A Chesterfield business has secured a £1million investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme.

The funding follows a £500,000 MEIF loan in November last year, which helped the company with a range of business growth activities including marketing, IT, new jobs and a move to bigger premises.

The most recent loan will be used for further staff hires, equipment purchase, and maintaining stock levels to support new contracts.

International Energy Products is a metal stockholder and processor of speciality alloys servicing the oil, gas and renewable energy industries as well as aerospace, marine and defence sectors.

The company was set up in 2017 by Emma Beresford who spent the next two years establishing a robust supply model before full trading commenced in 2020. This has placed the company ahead of the curve in a market where an already challenging supply environment has been worsened by the war in Ukraine.

International Energy Products Founder and Managing Director, Emma Beresford, said:Having just reached the point of trading when the pandemic hit, our growth plans inevitably slowed but we are now ready to scale up in line with the recovery of our customer base.

“As a new business that doesn’t have the trading history needed for bank funding, the MEIF loan will help us with the cashflow and capacity needed to take on new, large contracts and we are thankful to FSE for investing in our future growth.”

Ann Marie McFadyen, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, commented:We would like to thank Sanjay Vallabh from Vallabh Associates for introducing us to International Energy Products. Emma is a forward-thinking MD who knows her market well and has been appointed Export Champion for the Department for International Trade for the second year running.

“Her innovative approach has allowed her to minimise risk and future-proof against supply chain issues and pricing. Years of hard work have paid off with this small business now years ahead of its competitors and we are thrilled to be supporting Emma and her team at this crucial point in their growth journey.”

Lewis Stringer, Senior Manager, UK Network  at the British Business Bank, added: “The previous round of MEIF funding for International Energy Products supported its initial growth and created new jobs in the region, while this second funding round will continue to support these activities. With more Midlands businesses moving past post-pandemic recovery and into the growth stage, we encourage more companies to consider MEIF funding to support their development.”

Will Morlidge, Chief Executive of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added:The D2N2 area is the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and remains the heartland on manufacturing in the UK. It’s businesses like IEP that underpin our amazing manufacturers, so it’s great to see them being supported. They supply to many businesses who are crucial to us being able to transition to a net-zero future, so the impact of their growth will be felt in businesses across the region.”

The Midlands Engine 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 2014-2022 and the European Investment Bank.

The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Finance Fund provides loans between £100,000 and £1.5 million to help growing SMEs across the region. For more information visit: or contact Ann Marie McFadyen.


Spoon Group, owner of Spoon Customs, Gun Control Custom Paint which was created through a merger with WyndyMilla in 2019, has secured a £300,000 equity investment from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund, as part of a £740,000 funding round valuing the fast-growing performance bike company at £3.7million.

The funding round was led by The FSE Group, who manage the EM3 Growth Fund on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and included investment from existing and new private investors. The round will be used to expand the firms operations, by recruiting new team members, solidifying its sales, and marketing operation and bringing certain operations in-house.

Spoon Group, run by Andy Carr as CEO and Chris Houghton as Non-Exec, was founded through a merger of Spoon Customs and Wyndymilla, an existing portfolio company of the EM3 Funding Escalator.

Spoon Group specialise in bespoke bikes, designed for the riders physiology and the type of riding the customer wants to do, delivered with the highest standards of fit, fabrication and finish. The bikes are precision built with carbon fibre or steel frames, designed in house, then fabricated one at a time by hand, before being finished to the highest possible standard at their base in Surrey.

Andy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of Spoon Group explains: "It is great to be working alongside Paul and the EM3 team. Cyclists now know they can get more from their equipment if it’s designed around their body, for the specific riding they do. Our recent reviews prove we can compete on performance terms with any of the big brands too and this investment further demonstrates how the market is shifting away from mass produced equipment, in favour of specialists like us who can invest in product, service and personalisation to deliver and a better bike that will meet a customer’s specific lifestyle and performance needs.”

Paul Lyristis, Investment Manager, South East for The FSE Group, commented: We were impressed by Spoons track record and the expertise of the senior management team and investors. The fund has supported the business since 2016, and it is encouraging to see the growth of the business with great products that are receiving increasing recognition. We are delighted to be able to invest in Spoon and look forward to working with Andy, Chris and the team to ensure they reach their goals for growth.”

Sue Littlemore, Joint Managing Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting a successful company that combines high quality custom focused design, for a mode of transport that is environmentally friendly. We wish Spoon Group well with its expansion and recruitment plans.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. 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.


North Cornish drinks brand, Pentire Drinks has secured a £500,000 equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) as part of a £3m funding round.

The CIOSIF investment, along with match-funding from private investors, will be used to grow the team by creating 10 new positions over the next three years along with expanding multiple areas of the business.

Pentire is a direct-to-consumer led, omni-channel business with its non-alcoholic botanical spirits championed by chefs across Cornwall and the UK, including Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth and Emily Scott. The company’s products can also be found in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwick, The Pig Hotels, Soho House Group, Daylesford and Planet Organic.

The business has created Pentire Seaward and Pentire Adrift, which are made by distilling plants native to the local coastline, making delicious spirits in their own right that appeal to gin, vodka and tequila lovers looking to experience great flavours. Pentire is also proudly a certified B-Corp and donates proceeds to the Blue Marine Foundation.

The no and low alcohol sectors are continuing to grow as consumers are focusing more on prioritising their health and looking to moderate alcohol consumption. Pentire’s roots in active outdoor coastal living and sustainability are well positioned for this movement.

Pentire Drinks was founded by Alistair Frost and his good friend Edward Grieg-Gran. They commented: “We’re a young and passionate team who genuinely love our products. Our drinks encompass what it means to be Cornish, and we work hard to make sure they inspire our customers without damaging our local environment. The non-alcoholic spirits sector is thriving and Pentire is growing along with it. We’re well on the way to becoming an easily recognisable brand and this funding will enable us to continue this rate of growth and put Pentire firmly in the drinks cabinets of people across the globe.”

Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds Cornwall at The FSE Group, added: “Pentire is an exciting brand which is new to market but already boasts a strong history of sales. This is thanks in main to the high-quality drinks, but the team behind the range are responsible for creating and raising the profile of the company which has driven sales upward. We were impressed by Pentire’s strong management team and advisers and have every faith that they will steer this Cornish brand on to even greater success.”

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).

Paul Jones, Senior Investment Manager from the British Business Bank, said: “This is one of the largest equity deal the fund has backed and we’re delighted to be supporting Pentire’s growth. Through our regional investment funds we are helping to build a portfolio of sustainable businesses around the UK and this deal is the latest example of that.”

John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said:“Pentire is another environmentally-focused Cornish business that has put sustainability at its heart. They have produced a drinks range that quite literally distils the essence of Cornwall into healthy premium products that have found their niche in the growing non-alcoholic segment.”

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; or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2


ClearPeople Ltd – the developer of Atlas, a leading B2B SaaS digital workplace product for Microsoft 365, in partnership with PwC as lead advisor, received one of The FSE Group’s largest growth capital investments to date. With this investment, ClearPeople will extend its marketing reach to fuel growth, targeting greater than £5M ARR by the end of its next financial year. 

ClearPeople is led by co-founders Katya Linossi (CEO) and Gabriel Karawani. Since its early days, the company has quickly expanded to work with clients across EMEA. Its clients span a variety of sectors, including law and professional services, financial services, construction and engineering.  

Showing accelerated growth, the company was accepted into the PwC Raise programme last year. “PwC were instrumental in helping us focus our message and refine our models to accurately reflect the value of Atlas to future investors,” says Katya Linossi. A strong relationship naturally developed with David Booth of The FSE Group who manage part of the £100M Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF), set up to support innovative businesses with a commitment to grow in London. 

The investment was closed in August 2022 and the funds will be used to accelerate growth of Atlas sales via focused investment in marketing, sales and customer success.  Katya Linossi said "We are really excited about the next stage, with this funding supporting us on that journey, we will continue our 100%+ annual ARR growth trajectory.”   

Barry Wakelin, Operations Director said "Working with PwC has helped us refine our messaging and financial modelling and introduced us to a broad range of potential investors for now and for the future. It was great to engage with David and The FSE Group who have proven to be attentive and supportive during the contract negotiations. We’re extremely excited to be able to use the funds to deliver greater than £5M ARR by the end of our next financial year." 

"The Greater London Investment Fund delivered by The FSE Group supports both early-stage and established SMEs looking to scale-up and realise their growth ambitions. ClearPeople demonstrated all of the key attributes that we’re looking for in a transaction including a strong and stable management team, excellent product proposition, and extensive customer and revenue base. We look forward to supporting ClearPeople in their next phase of growth" said David Booth from The FSE Group. 

"It has been a pleasure working with Katya and the team, and we're really pleased to have helped them close their round with The FSE Group. With the pandemic pushing people to remote working, it has been great to see Atlas in action providing an intuitive digital workspace for a long list of blue-chip clients. I look forward to watching them expand in the US over the coming months, following this investment round!" concluded Thomas Hudson from PwC Raise.

About ClearPeople 

Built on Microsoft 365, Atlas, by ClearPeople, is the most advanced Digital Workplace and Intranet platform in the market. In a single and intuitive interface, Atlas connects people to what matters most at work by solving the problems of having dispersed digital tools, too many silos and stuff that’s hard to find.  

Atlas empowers your people by reducing technology friction, enabling remote and hybrid working, and increasing productivity and employee engagement.  


A Hampshire based business has secured £250,000 of funding from the Enterprise M3 (EM3) Funding Escalator, managed by The FSE Group. The EM3 expansion loan will be used for further product development and to create up to eight new jobs. 

International Rail has been delivering market leading web-based B2B rail booking solutions to its travel management company and tour operator clients for over 25 years. During that time, its team have built strong relationships with most of the world’s major rail networks, allowing it to offer a search and book service for almost any point-to-point journey in the world.  

With technology acting as a key driver since the company’s inception, International Rail has developed 1track, a proprietary software platform through which it can offer the world’s largest selection of rail journeys and passes. A white label offering, 1track allows International Rail’s clients to offer the service directly to their own customers with an easy to navigate dashboard and integrated payment options. It is also playing a key role in the move towards sustainable travel by providing CO2 emissions data reporting. 

Having many leading travel companies as its clients already, International Rail has recently won a contract as preferred rail booking supplier for the world’s largest travel management company. This presents a huge opportunity for the business and the EM3 funding will help to ensure International Rail can increase capacity and push forward with further platform developments, delivering a seamless service at a time of growth. 

CEO and Founder, Rod Maton, said: “Seeking finance for growth based on a future contract can be challenging, especially when recent trading has been impacted by a global pandemic. Without this funding our 1track platform would see a slower global roll out with developments implemented in stages. Thanks to the more far-sighted approach taken by FSE and the EM3 loan scheme, we are now in a position to expedite our growth strategy and quickly deliver the world’s leading rail booking system, enabling clients to see a full sustainability dashboard and make greener choices accordingly.  

International rail travel has gained huge momentum over the past few years with cross-border rail travel now estimated to be in excess of £3bn and growing.  By comparison, forecasts show that air travel is set to shrink by 10% over the next decade. Driving this are long term shifts in attitude to climate change at governmental, corporate, and individual level coupled with a more innovative and competitive rail landscape across Europe. 

Cheryl Weeks, Head of Funds – South East, at The FSE Group, commented: “Over the past two decades and more, Rod and his team have established networks across the global rail sector resulting in contracts with 90% of the world’s rail companies. This, together with the intellectual property it owns and its unbeatable reputation for outstanding customer service, places International Rail at the very forefront of its sector. This agile team is perfectly positioned take advantage of the growth opportunity available and we look forward to continuing to support them on this journey.” 

Sue Littlemore, Joint Managing Director at the Enterprise M3 LEP said: “It’s fantastic to see the LEP play an important role in helping International Rail stay on track with its ambitious growth plans, allowing the business to develop its products and create new jobs in the EM3 area.” 

 “Technology is part of the way ahead to improving rail services that are efficient, environmentally sustainable and fit for the future and International Rail meets the EM3 vision to support a low carbon, high growth economy perfectly.” 

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator includes an expansion loan scheme, a short-term trade loan scheme and an equity growth fund and 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.