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The FSE Group is pleased to announce the recruitment of Ryan Cartwright and Abbie Peat, who join the team in the Midlands which manages the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) Debt Finance Fund. Ryan joins as Investment Manager for the West Midlands and Abbie will take up the role of Investment Manager for the East Midlands. 

Ryan’s career in SME finance began with the RBS Group where he worked in Relationship Management roles within Corporate Banking for nine years. His next move was to a regional Growth Hub in Staffordshire before returning to commercial finance with a private sector invoice finance and factoring business where he was responsible for setting up an office and developing a new portfolio of clients from scratch. In 2018 he became the West Midlands Senior Manager for the British Business Bank which gave him a deeper experience of the diversity of finance options available to SMEs including equity and debt products.  

Abbie has almost 20 years’ experience in the banking sector with varying roles including Relationship Management, Training & Development, Business Risk and Assurance and Project work. Working for Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank, she helped deliver the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and most recently supported the bank’s phase out of LIBOR which is one of the largest, most complex regulatory driven change projects ever to impact the financial services industry and its customers. 

Ryan Cartwright, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, said, “I’m pleased to join the team at FSE and to continue the great work being carried out by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). Having previously worked with the MEIF while I was part of the British Business Bank, I’m excited to directly work with and support the SMEs who use the fund and who are growing and enriching the Midlands.”  

Abbie Peat, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added “I’ve worked directly with business banking customers for years but I’m excited to be able to make this my main focus. The Midlands has a wonderful community of SMEs and is a region experiencing significant growth through investment. I’m delighted to be a part of this and to use my knowledge to guide and support local companies who are taking the next steps on their growth journey.”   

The MEIF Debt Finance Fund can be used for expansion related activities which will deliver substantial growth impact within the area. Through this fund, eligible SMEs can secure growth loans ranging from £100,000 - £1,500,000 which can be used for sales and marketing activity, hiring new employees/job creation, new product development, exporting abroad, purchasing new equipment or entering new markets. 

Andy Moss, Head of Fund at The FSE Group, commented: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Abbie and Ryan, two highly skilled investment professionals, who will complete our Midlands team. The FSE Group has supported 48 businesses across the Midlands and is looking to increase this number by continuing to work with growing SMEs in the region. Both Abbie and Ryan have a deep understanding of the challenges and demands faced by local businesses which makes them ideally placed to continue this work.” 

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 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank. 

News

A Newquay based social enterprise working to turn ocean waste into useable products has secured £250,000 of growth finance from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF). The funding will be used for marketing, product development, equipment and to create new jobs.

While working as a marine scientist in locations across the globe, Waterhaul Founder and CEO Harry Dennis witnessed ‘ghost gear’ – fishing equipment and nets that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded – on every shoreline. On realising the qualities that make the nets such a problem in the ocean – their durability, strength and abundance – are also highly desirable in a raw material, he set about turning this problem into a resource.

The result is a business that collects fishing nets by hand from Cornwall’s coastline for recycling into a range of beach conservation accessories and high-quality eyewear.

Harry said: “At Waterhaul we produce premium-quality sunglasses that come with a lifetime guarantee. We’re proud of this but what matters more is our purpose. We’ve made great progress collecting and repurposing nets over the last three years but to have a material impact on the volume of ghost gear in our oceans and on our shores, we need to grow and increase capacity. The CIOSIF loan is crucial to this growth. As a young business with insufficient track record for many lenders, we are grateful to be working with a projection-led finance provider who understands our mission and is willing to back our potential.”

Waterhaul’s expansion plans include a move to new premises where they can undertake more of the currently outsourced processes in-house, as well as creating their own glasses designs and expanding their product range. They are already supplying major retailers including Glasses Direct and Vision Express, and B2B channels will be a focus for further growth. And with nets in abundant supply, production of recycled plastic will exceed Waterhaul’s need for its own products so in the future they will look to supply this high-quality material to other brands wishing to create a more sustainable offering.

Tim Williams, Investment Manager at appointed CIOSIF Fund Manager, The FSE Group, commented: “Waterhaul is an impressive business that is already making great headway in a sector close to Cornwall’s heart. Their commercial acumen is grounded by a desire to bring about real change. A hands on business model keeps them connected to Waterhaul’s core purpose, and their expansion plans reflect the ambition to tackle a huge environmental issue head on. We are delighted to be supporting this ambitious business in an exciting phase of its development.”

Waterhaul was introduced to CIOSIF by Oxford Innovation’s Access to Finance Cornwall team in Redruth. John Whittaker, Business Finance Specialist at Access to Finance, added: “We worked closely with Harry to identify the funding requirement and then to help produce a robust and dynamic financial model that would strengthen the CIOSIF funding application. We are thrilled to have been able to support Waterhaul in securing the finance needed to grow and look forward to working with the CIOSIF team on future introductions.”

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).

Sarah Newbould, Senior Investment Manager from the British Business Bank, said: “The fund is starting to build a portfolio of environmentally focused Cornish businesses that are committed to sustainability, and Waterhaul is another excellent example of that. It also shows how the fund can support young businesses that may not have the trading track record to satisfy other lenders.”

LEP director John Acornley, and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Waterhaul is showing how Cornish businesses really are leading the way when it comes to the circular economy. They take one of the most common and potentially lethal forms of plastic pollution in our oceans and transform it into everyday products with a lifetime warranty. We look forward to seeing their next stage of growth.”

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

For further details about Waterhaul, please visit https://waterhaul.co or follow on Instagram @waterhaul_co

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A Solihull-based business which has created a fully integrated digital workflow platform, has secured a £250,000 loan from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).)

The funding will be used to recruit five additional staff and focus on further development of their product and services.

CareCube’s platform has been designed to track and manage patient information for cardiology and heart centres by simplifying the scheduling process. The digital touch screen interface is vital in saving staff time and it supports the NHS’s need to reduce waiting lists.

The platform is used in hospitals across the UK including the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. The installation of the new system to the NHS database is executed gradually to back up existing patient information to the system, with procedures in place to test the system before its final switch.

Tim Coutts, Co-Founder and CEO of CareCube Solutions, said“We are providing a system designed by cardiologists, for cardiologists. Our digital platform ensures patients, nurses and consultants have real-time information to keep all parties informed of the status of a patient while they are on-site, providing an unrivalled patient experience. This funding will enable us to continue developing our technology and invest in marketing which will support our business.

Chris Bailey, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, said:  “Digital solutions for labour intensive tasks are a priority in the medtech sector. The market for this product both in the UK and overseas is in demand owing to the size of waiting lists. CareCube’s solution is impressive due to its ease of use and integration, supported by an experienced management team with relevant medical and medtech experts. The FSE Group is excited to see the business grow and support the NHS as it recovers from the strain of the pandemic.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said:  “The MEIF continues to support medtech businesses like CareCube that aim to support the NHS and wider sector with innovative new technology. We would encourage SMEs in the Midlands looking to level up with funding to create new jobs and expand to consider MEIF funding.”

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 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Finance Fund provides loans between £100,000 and £1.5million to help growing SMEs across the Midlands region.

News

Fox Robotics, a company that helps improve efficiency and automation for soft fruit farms across the UK, has completed its latest funding round. This round will allow Fox Robotics to continue their R&D, increase its manufacturing operations and provide more job opportunities.

Fox Robotics, based in Farnham, Surrey and Martlesham, Suffolk, is an innovator in robotics technology.

Henry Acevedo, Founder and CTO of Fox Robotics, knew that robotics would be used more as technology improved. One of the areas Henry first saw the opportunity to revolutionise using robotics was the logistics operations within warehouses, defence, aerospace, and healthcare industries.

In 2017 Fox Robotics was founded and developed its first prototype, a robot which could transport materials around a factory, warehouse, or other industrial flooring environments. During a sustained outreach programme, Henry Acevedo, Founder and CTO of Fox Robotics, decided to pivot the company’s focus from warehouse automation to agricultural logistics with a primary focus on soft fruits.

The Hugo RT TM is an autonomous mobile robot that allows fruit pickers to spend more time picking fruit and less time transporting it. The robot is designed to travel up and down the rows of soft fruit, particularly strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, in glasshouses, polytunnels and outdoors. Hugo RT TM has been designed to be used all year round, ensuring farmers use this technology to its maximum potential.

Ben Butlin, Interim CEO at Fox Robotics, said, “The agricultural sector uses robotics in parts of their processes such as warehousing, and is now in a position where new technology is not just wanted, but needed. It was always clear that farming had a high reliance on human pickers.  After the Brexit vote in 2016, it was obvious that this would become a problem, and this has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. There is a shortfall in pickers which the Hugo can help mitigate by taking on the role of fruit transporter, leaving the fruit pickers free to stay out in the field. We are delighted to be helping such a strong British industry whilst simultaneously advancing robotic technology.

Paul Lyristis, Senior Fund Manager, at The FSE Group, which manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund on behalf of the LEP adds: “We were extremely impressed by Fox Robotics knowledge and passion. Not just in terms of technology but also their resolve to work closely with existing data and procedures, integrating their robots into systems rather than overhauling current processes. There is no other company taking on the challenge of helping fruit farmers utilise robots out in the field in this way. Exciting times lay ahead for the team and the future of Agri-Tech thanks to Fox Robotics.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “It’s great to see a company like Fox Robotics benefit from the EM3 Growth Fund. High-tech innovation contributes enormously to both regional and national economic growth and this is another example of how R&D continues to thrive in the EM3 area. We’ve all seen the challenges faced by the growing industry in recent times, especially around the availability of labour. This project is a perfect example of how robots can support this key sector. I’m delighted that EM3 has been able to help enable innovation activities which will benefit the sector and increase the job opportunities for local people.”

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.

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Hayle based Triskel Marine, a world leading disruptive technology company in the marine industry sector, has secured £350,000 investment to safeguard 19 roles and strengthen the team with the addition of a sales manager and an operations manager.

Triskel Marine uses its Integrel (which stands for Intelligent Generation of Electricity) technology to collect excess energy from a boat’s inboard engine and stores it in batteries for later use. The system replaces the need for a standalone generator without compromising engine performance. Stored energy can be used later to power lights, ovens, air conditioning, refrigerators and water makers, reducing marina hook-up costs.

Trevor Howard, Managing Director of Triskel Marine, commented: “We are really pleased that our product is seen as the future of power generation in boats. This power source can also be applied elsewhere, completely replacing a stand-alone generator by using ‘spare’ capacity from the existing inboard engine and working in partnership with other power methods where needed, for example solar power. We look forward to offering this solution with optimum efficiency, to both existing and new yacht owners resulting in fuel savings of up to 25%. With Integral you can do two jobs with one engine and less fuel.”

Tim Williams, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added “Triskel Marine has an innovative product and an experienced management team with good connections in the industry. Trevor’s business has demonstrated that the removal of noisy and costly diesel generators will reduce fuel, maintenance, and shore power costs for vessel owners. We look forward to the next stage of development.”

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).

Sarah Newbould, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “Cornwall’s marine sector is renowned for its innovation and this CIOSIF loan will help Triskel Marine continue its growth and create jobs. It’s another example of how our regional funds are investing in a more sustainable future.”

John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Triskel Marine’s hybrid propulsion system is an important step towards reduced emissions and greener sailing. I’m delighted to see the fund supporting another innovative Cornish business whose technology has global applications.”

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

Read more about Triskel Marine at https://integrelsolutions.com/