News
  • The Fund has made 856 investments into Midlands’ businesses since 2017
  • Additional £301m of private sector investment unlocked by the fund
  • Funding supports innovative sustainable companies and improves access to finance in region

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) has now invested over £200m into Midlands businesses since its launch in 2017.

The debt and equity funding options offered by the MEIF have benefitted 595 businesses across the region and has supported SMEs in the creation of jobs, investment into new products and services and wider growth opportunities.

The Fund was launched by the British Business Bank in partnership with Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Midlands Engine and the UK Government with the aim of improving access to finance and the landscape for small businesses in the Midlands.

MEIF funding breakdown:

  • Over £200m invested, with £301m of private sector co-investment unlocked
  • 856 investments in 595 businesses
  • 2,371 jobs created

Businesses in various sectors benefit from MEIF funding, including its ongoing investment in the region's sustainable development and green technology.  

A recent sustainability investment into renewable energy provided debt funding to Nottingham-based Roadgas, to support the company's growth in supplying further renewable gas refuelling stations across the UK.

Birmingham-headquartered I-Phyc received £2.3m to support expansion of its nature-based wastewater treatment solutions through the MEIF's Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund to create new jobs.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: “Our partnership with key regional stakeholders including Local Enterprise Partnerships and our fund managers has played a significant role in reaching this new milestone. Investment by MEIF has been shown to promote resilience, innovation and productivity in supported SMEs and has helped diversify and strengthen the regions finance landscape.  We look forward to continuing this through the next £100m of investment. "

Jon Corbett, Chair of Strategic Oversight Board for the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, added:  “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund provides financing options to smaller businesses with potential in the Midlands. The funding allows businesses to achieve their goals and give entrepreneurs the opportunity to realise their growth ambitions.

“MEIF funding has helped many SMEs contribute to the wider economic growth of the Midlands and its wider economic goals through investment to support safeguarding existing jobs, creating new roles, overcoming challenges faced during the pandemic, and helping the region's businesses to reach their full potential. 

“While we’re celebrating another milestone, we hope to help many more businesses and entrepreneurs who have innovative and sustainable ideas in the future by breaking down the barriers of access to traditional finance and will allow the Midlands region to continue to prosper.”  

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 Worcestershire business has secured a £250,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group managed by MEIF Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme.

Little Mixers create high-quality fruit purees and syrups for use in cocktails, smoothies and desserts. The MEIF funding will be used to purchase and install a range of machinery at a new production facility in Worcestershire, making Little Mixers the first UK manufacturer of fruit purees specifically for the drinks industry.

Co-founders Shaun Elder and Simon Little formerly worked in the sector as agents for another manufacturer’s product, but with the creation of Little Mixers, they are now producing their own branded purees.

Little Mixers are managing the supply chain through direct relationships with fruit growers and bringing all manufacturing in-house with the aim of becoming the market leader for fruit purees that are allergen free, gluten free, kosher, halal and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Simon Little, co-founder of Little Mixer, said: “With the hospitality industry impacted so heavily by the pandemic, we re-evaluated our business model, identifying an opportunity to develop a premium, UK manufactured product for this category. As such, despite our extensive experience and commercial success in the sector, we are effectively starting a new business, meaning traditional lines of funding are not available to us.

“We are thankful to MEIF and FSE for looking at the strengths of our business proposition and being prepared to back our potential, enabling us to bring innovative processing techniques and new-to-market products to the UK.”

Since 2014, the number of outlets serving cocktails has risen by 75% with cocktails now accounting for 10% of total venue drinks sales. Little Mixers will supply its high-quality, commercially competitive and uniquely UK manufactured purees to premium hospitality venues that are looking for the finest ingredients.

Harriet Saunders, Fund Executive at The FSE Group, added: “Shaun and Simon have a deep understanding of the UK drinks sector with a strong network of industry connections. This, along with their technical expertise, data driven forecasting of the market and intellectual property ownership, sets them up well for the successful delivery of their business plan.

“We are delighted to be supporting them and look forward to helping them achieve their ambitions for growth.”Little Mixers has secured a £250,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group managed by MEIF Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme.

Little Mixers has secured a £250k investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, provided by The FSE Group managed by MEIF Debt Finance Fund and backed by the RLS.

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: The MEIF is committed to supporting businesses like Little Mixers in its growth plans in the Midlands. MEIF funding options are available to other businesses with growth plans in the region that are looking to scale-up and we’d encourage these businesses to consider the options.”

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s great to see yet another Worcestershire business being supported to grow through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. I am so pleased to see this support enabling Little Mixers to invest in their new production facility in Worcestershire, allowing them to bring their new innovative ideas to market. This has been down to the support of the Worcestershire growth hub and the partners supporting this business.”

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 region.

Vacancies

We are seeking a Fund Executive/administrator to join our team.  

Initially reporting directly to one of the Head of funds, this is an exciting opportunity to help support a team of Investment Managers who lend to Small & Medium size businesses in the UK.  

Principal accountabilities 

Reporting: 

  • Logging data on a CRM system for Monthly/ Quarterly Reports – including some back dating of data  

Customer information and communication: 

  • Inputting/ checking information to a CRM system  
  • Logging & chasing clients for management information 
  • Organising client correspondence  

Compliance: 

  • Assist team with drawdown checks for customers 

Other: 

  • Management of inbound email inbox for enquiries 
  • Management of inbound team telephone enquiries and voicemails 
  • Administrative support as required. 

Knowledge Skills & experience 

Competence in use of Microsoft Office systems, especially Excel and Sharepoint 

Confident, professional yet friendly manner, with ability to deliver great customer service.  

Prior experience in administrative roles, particularly in a financial services environment will be a distinct advantage. 

What we offer 

  • Flexible hybrid working between home and our offices in Blackwater. 
  • Salary equivalent to £16,500 per annum (for 3 days a week) 
  • 15 days annual leave (based on 3 days a week) plus pro rata days for Bank holidays in England & Wales. You will also get your birthday off. 
  • Ability for you to use 1 day for Corporate Social Responsibility purposes annually. 
  • 5% contribution to employer pension scheme, subject to minimum 3% contribution from employee. 
  • Death in Service benefit equivalent to 4x salary. 

Job Role: Part time – equivalent to 3 days per week. This is a fixed term contract role for 6 months.  

If you would like an informal chat about the role, please call Andy Moss, Head of Fund on 07434 182885 (Mon-Thurs)

You must have the right to work in the UK. 

Strictly no agencies. 

Email your CV to HR@thefsegroup.com 

News

Codices, the UK’s leading interactive gameshow creator are launching the first platform to allow anyone to create live interactive gameshows.

With the UK being the leading producer of un-scripted TV formats, accounting for 42% of worldwide export sales in 2020, it has proven to be a reliable source of some of the world’s best entertainment.

A new start-up is helping the UK become the leader of next generation entertainment – live mass participation gameshows where everyone watching is a contestant. The trend started initially with the app HQ Trivia in 2017 which validated there was mass market appeal for interactive shows.

“The reason we haven’t seen any mainstream live interactive gameshows since HQ Trivia is because they are hard to create and there isn’t really a platform setup for people to easily access them” says co-founder and CEO Tim Edwards.

Codices Interactive started their gameshow journey on the livestreaming platform Twitch where they launched their gameshow extension Quiz Kit, which amassed over 4 million monthly viewers and has been used by over a million different live-streamers to create live online quiz shows.

They have worked with the likes of Amazon Prime Video, The Premier League and a number of large game development studios to create new gameshow formats on Twitch. They also ran the largest ever mass quiz show with studio Digital Extremes boasting over 350,000 concurrent participants whilst giving away over 100,000 prizes.

“The one thing everyone wants to do when watching a gameshow is play along. We found by making them live and interactive it increased the enjoyment factor significantly.” Last year, after raising around £1m in investment, they set out to build a brand-new gameshow platform, Moar, to facilitate the creation and supply of mass participation shows. ‘Twitch is the best platform to watch video games content, but we found the market for live interactive shows was much broader than gamers.’

Moar provides tools to creators to build their own live gameshow formats - starting out with the ability to make quiz shows, live polls, give out prizes and bring on live guests through their phone.

Another key aspect of the platform is making sure anyone with an internet connection can make their own interactive gameshows. “Today, anyone can be a content creator and we didn’t want to restrict the tools to businesses or professionals by making them too complicated to use.”

Through watching shows on Moar viewers can also earn ‘stubs’, similar to winning tickets on an arcade machine, which can be spent on in app rewards and a number of real-life prizes soon to be announced.

“Right now we are in our Open Beta phase so it’s a great time to install and take advantage of our early offers and take a front row seat in seeing the platform develop” says Tim. If you would like to experience Moar, either creating or watching some of their shows, you can find them on the iOS App Store by searching Moar where they are running daily trivia shows alongside shows run by new creators.

 

 

News

Cornish digital community engagement platform, GoCollaborate, has secured £120,000 equity investment from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger £240,000 funding round.

The round was led by the FSE Group, the appointed fund manager for CIOSIF, and includes a number of private angel investors, Falmouth University and Coastline Housing. The funding will be used to develop additional features to the application, obtain national presence and a growing market share and recruit an in-house team.  It is expected that all new hires will be Cornwall-based.

GoCollaborate is an easy-to-use online platform which enables communities to directly impact the planning and development of their local area. The platform builds on traditional consultation methods by making the engagement process more effective, while saving time and resources.  

It can be used for multiple different stages of a consultation process, from initial data-gathering to generating reports, and provides an easy overview of data so that findings and decisions to be fed back to communities.

GoCollaborate was piloted with a range of Cornwall based Parish Councils including Portreath, Carn Brea, St Keverne and Redruth. These initial engagements resulted in the councils receiving a high level of in-depth qualitative data and being in a better position to act on their communities’ wishes.

Neil Kirkland, Chief Executive Officer and Finance Director at GoCollaborate, commented: “Engaging with local communities can be extremely challenging for councils or property developers who are tight on time and low on resources. GoCollaborate was created to solve the problem of conversing with groups of people during the pandemic, but it has become much more than that. We originally designed the platform to consult on Neighbourhood Development Plans, but we now offer a variety of services which help locals have an impact on sustainable planning, improving community facilities, protecting the environment, enabling affordable housing and revitalising high streets, towns and villages. This funding will give us the ability to grow and develop at a great pace so that we can help even more people have a say in their community.”

Anna Staevska, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added: “GoCollaborate is tackling a clear need which to date has not been addressed. The company has strong relationships with others in the housing and planning sectors which, combined with the excellent business model, makes it an impressive business. Listening to and acting on the views of local communities is key to sustainable development. We look forward to seeing more councils take advantage of this modern platform, leading to further contracts being established beyond the South West.”

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).

Ken Cooper, managing director from the British Business Bank, said“CIOSIF is helping to grow a portfolio of businesses in Cornwall that are applying technology to tackle everyday issues. The fund’s equity stake has leveraged significant match funding from other investors and we look forward to seeing the company embark on its next phase of growth.”

John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “GoCollaborate has created an online platform that really empowers local communities by helping them engage in the planning process. And it’s great to see another spin-out business from Falmouth University’s Launchpad business incubation and accelerator programme securing the investment it needs to grow.”

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