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£40 million unlocked for Midlands’ businesses as MEIF reveals new loan fund

  • Midlands Engine Investment Fund launches new loan fund
  • The FSE Group appointed to manage £40 million of debt finance
  • Fund to address regional demand for alternative debt finance options

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) has appointed a new fund manager and made £40 million available to invest in the region’s small businesses.

Appointed to address regional demand for alternative debt finance options, The FSE Group will manage the £40 million debt fund, with the capability to invest between £100k and £1.5 million in businesses based in the West Midlands and East & South East Midlands.

Forming the latest phase of investment released by the MEIF, the £40 million of debt finance brings the number of MEIF funds to eight, with the FSE Group set to work alongside six existing fund managers.

This announcement follows a successful period for the MEIF including hitting its £50 million invested mark. The FSE Group is set to build on this and invest in a range of businesses, adding to the portfolio of over 225 SMEs already receiving finance from the British Business Bank’s MEIF Fund.

Local Government Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, who is also the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion, said:

“As someone who grew up in the Midlands and is now fortunate enough to represent a Midlands constituency in Parliament, I’m very proud to be the Midlands Engine Champion in Cabinet.

“The region is home to some of the world’s most innovative businesses and dynamic entrepreneurs. Thanks to this further £40 million being made available through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, more businesses in the Midlands will be able to secure the backing they need to develop their ideas, grow their companies and create more well-paid local jobs.

“Opening up further investment opportunities for local businesses is just one of the ways that this new government is putting the Midlands at the heart of our plans to level up all parts of the country and create prosperous communities.”

Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer at the British Business Bank, said:

“Since launch, the MEIF has committed to improving the regional finance landscape for small businesses. We have made strong progress, providing over 225 businesses with finance and helping them achieve new growth. Adding a new fund manager will help us continue delivering on this mission as we help to support driving the Midlands Engine forward.

“The FSE Group has an expert team and is well equipped to not only invest in businesses, but work with them in the long-term to help them create jobs, enter new markets and bolster the regional economy.”

Jon Corbett, Chair of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s Strategic Oversight Board, said:

“Collaboration between our fund managers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and intermediaries has played a key part in the success of the MEIF so far. As a board, we believe that The FSE Group will be a valuable addition to the team, boosting investment and business growth across the Midlands.”

Robert Spencer, Executive Chairman at The FSE Group, said:

“We are delighted to be appointed fund manager for this new £40m debt fund and join the existing fund managers in providing alternative finance options from the MEIF. The FSE Group has been funding and supporting growth SMEs for over 15 years and we look forward to bringing our characteristic flexible more-than-money approach to the Midlands 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 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.


-ENDS-

Press contacts:

Lauren Tunnicliffe, British Business Bank

Lauren.tunnicliffe@british-business-bank.co.uk / 07557 205044

Tom Bradshaw-Smith, Story Comms

tom@wearestorycomms.com / 07432 460 225

Lewis Thomas, Story Comms

lewis@wearestorycomms.com / 07823 335 659

About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

  • The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
  • The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
  • The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
  • The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands.
  • The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The programme will continue to spend to the end of 2023.
  • The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
  • The Government has guaranteed all funding allocated through EU programmes until the end of 2020.  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020
  • The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit www.eib.org

  • The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.

About the British Business Bank

 The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank programmes are supporting more than £7.0bn of finance to over 91,000 smaller businesses (as at end of June 2019).

 As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:

  • The Business Finance Guide (published in partnership with the ICAEW and a further 21 business and finance organisations) impartially sets out the range of finance options available to businesses at all stages – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Businesses can take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb.
  • The new British Business Bank Finance Hub provides everything high-growth businesses need to know about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and learnings from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.

 British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries. 

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.

The Bear is Back – Hofmeister Brewing Company Completes Funding Round

A world-renowned brewing company who are on a mission to bring back the bear are the latest company to be supported by the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator. Hofmeister has successfully completed their latest funding round, and raised a total of £720,000, which included £200,000 from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund.

Hofmeister has a rich and fascinating history within the alcoholic drinks sector. Initially launched in 1976 by Courage, the Hofmeister brand was best known during the 1980s and 1990s. Its famous “follow the bear” Hofmeister adverts featuring George the Bear were the final directorial works of Orson Wells and remain much loved to this day.

The beer remained popular until lower alcohol lagers fell out of fashion in the nineties. Luckily for beer lovers, this is now changing with a surge in taste for premium lagers.  Relaunched in 2017 as a premium world lager, the new Hofmeister has been crafted to meet this growth in appetite for great quality lager. The relaunch of this historic beer is being expertly steered by two friends, Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers who bought the brand and have revamped the recipe for new-age beer drinkers. Now the beer is a genuine Helles lager brewed in Bavaria using the Reinheitsgebot or Purity Law, a traditional brewing method dating back to 1516. Beers brewed with this method only contain barley, hops, and mineral water.  Both men held senior positions at Beams, the UK’s leading branded alcohol gifting company. Ocado, the 5-star Connaught Hotel and the Ritz are just two of Hofmeister’s big name collaborations and more exciting partnerships are in the pipeline for the coming year.

Richard Longhurst, CEO at The Hofmeister Brewing Company, commented, “The past few years have been utterly phenomenal at Hofmeister and we are thrilled that The FSE Group has joined us on our journey. From winning contracts for in-house lager deals at prestigious venues to being the first ever lager to receive five stars at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, our relaunch has achieved so much already. With this funding round we will be opening up new facilities in Surrey and also expanding our talented team, so that the 2020’s carry on the momentum we have already built into the company.”

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund on behalf of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, adds, “We are delighted to add Hofmeister to our investment portfolio. The company’s high level of success in such a short space of time is incredibly encouraging and can be credited to the team’s expertise and love for their product. They went to great lengths to find the right brewing partner and found the award-winning, privately-owned family business Schweiger Brewery in Bavaria to produce Hofmeister. Choosing a brewery partnership of such calibre has resulted in a fantastic high-end and critically acclaimed product. We are excited to follow the journey of Hofmeister…by following the bear!”

The Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. 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.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-funding-escalator/ or contact Avent Bezuidenhoudt at avent.bezuidenhoudt@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608526.

Martin Macey Joins The FSE Group

The FSE Group has recruited a new fund manager to join their team in Cornwall.

Martin Macey, who has 16 years’ investment experience will be based in the Truro office.

Martin started his career at Deloitte, progressing from their graduate scheme to the position of assistant director. It was during his time at Deloitte that Martin qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

He joins the FSE Group from Succession Wealth, which is backed by Inflexion Private Equity. He was responsible for leading the financial acquisition & integration team. During his time at the Succession, Martin completed over 50 multi-million-pound acquisitions in addition to capital raises from HSBC and Ares. He also played a key role in the company winning Insider South West Company of the year in 2016.

At The FSE Group, Martin will be working with Ralph Singleton and the Cornwall team to deliver the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).  His role will comprise evaluating, executing and managing equity investments from the £40m fund.

Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds Cornwall, at the FSE Group, commented, “We are delighted to welcome Martin to our team. Martin has been based in the South-West for the vast-majority of his career and his background in corporate finance advisory and private equity, will bring valuable experience and support to our investments across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

For more information about The FSE Group visit: www.thefsegroup.com

INNOVATIVE HEALTHCARE TECH COMPANY RECEIVES CIOSIF INVESTMENT

Truro based, Clinical Design Technologies, a business producing a new way for healthcare professionals to carry out urine testing, is the latest to receive funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

Clinical Design has received a £750,000 CIOSIF equity investment as part of a £1.57 million fundraising round, which includes £400,000 from Sorbon Investments Ltd. The funding will support rollout of the product in the UK, alongside progression with overseas markets and will also allow the business to take on six new staff initially with further hires planned for next year.

Urine Testing System™ is an award-winning closed system for digital point-of-care urine testing for all healthcare providers including doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and care homes. As the world’s only closed system, Urine Testing System™ improves accuracy and enables semi-automatic desk-based analysis with the UTS Digital Analyser™. Urine Testing System™ has already been recognised as a significant innovation and earlier this year, it won a prestigious Red Dot Award for its intuitive design and potential to revolutionise one of the most common medical tests.

Having completed the design, development and robust testing of its system, the company is ready to move from trial stage into full-scale rollout.

Oliver Blackwell, Clinical Design Founder and CEO, said, “An estimated 100 million urine tests are carried out every year in the UK alone, many of which are still conducted with dipsticks that are colour-matched by eye. We have designed and engineered a digital solution that is easy-to-use and provides standardised results, which can be read on a desktop computer and saved to a patient’s electronic health care record.”

Mr Blackwell continues, “Securing funding at such a pivotal point can be tricky for early-stage med-tech companies like ours. We’re delighted to receive this backing which will be used to continue our UK rollout alongside entering overseas markets in Europe and preparing for expansion into the US in 2020.”

Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds, Cornwall at The FSE Group, commented: “Clinical Design has succeeded in creating a product that is not only superior to the existing solution but, crucially for the healthcare sector, is also cost neutral by comparison. This leaves them well placed to capture a significant portion of the almost 3 billion urine tests carried out globally each year and we are excited to be supporting such a dynamic team.”

John Acornley, chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board and a non-executive director of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Once again CIOSIF is at the forefront of supporting real technological innovation in Cornwall whilst driving high quality job creation across the region. And with manufacturing of the product and associated software currently outsourced to St Austell and Redruth sub-contractors, this is positive news for the wider local economy.”

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 LEP and is operated by appointed fund manager, The FSE Group.

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

ONLINE RETAILER BUILDS ON SUCCESS WITH EM3 GROWTH LOAN

A company that has carved a niche in the online retail sector whilst helping to address the problem of construction industry waste, is the latest to receive a loan from the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, which provides finance to help businesses grow.

Builders Bay, based in Cobham, is an online marketplace devoted to all things building related, from white goods to bathroom suites and excess building supplies. Using a model similar to the likes of Amazon and eBay, the platform provides a space for the sale of both new and used items to consumers and tradespeople. As well as generating listings from independent sellers, Builders Bay ensures a buoyant marketplace by taking on a large amount of end-of-line stock from well-known suppliers such as Magnet and Porcelanosa – much of which would have previously ended up in landfill. This ‘Tk Maxx’ model brings big brand items to their customers at steep discounts while helping people to lessen their environmental impact.

Builders Bay has secured a £100,000 Enterprise M3 Growth Loan to support its next stage of development, as CEO Mike Chapman comments: “Taking the company from an idea in 2016 to a fully functioning business with growth prospects has been both challenging and rewarding. Our turnover is set to more than quadruple this year to almost £200,000 and we are looking to increase this to over £2m during the next three years. This loan will allow us to take hold of the opportunities open to us and help achieve our goals.”

The loan will be used to employ new staff, including an operations and listings manager and a customer service manager, as well as for marketing activity and further technical development.

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the Funding Escalator on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Having built the tech, developed the retailer and customer journeys and gained traction with more new suppliers coming on stream each month, Builders Bay is growing and ready to scale. With a well-connected management team in the sector and strong supply chain relationships, the business is entering this next phase of growth from a position of strength. We look forward to continuing to support Builders Bay to reach its full potential.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. 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.

Enterprise M3 Chief Executive Kathy Slack said: “Sustainability runs through the core of our developing Local Industrial Strategy, from clean growth to innovation. We are delighted to support Builders Bay whose growth aims are aligned with our own and which is providing skilled and managerial jobs to the local economy.”

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund reaches £5m milestone

More than £5 million has been invested into local businesses with the support of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) in its first full year of operation.

The figures, revealed at an anniversary event in Truro last night (Tues, Oct 29) as part of the Cornwall Festival of Business, show that the fund has so far supported 13 local businesses with £2.9m of investment, attracting a further £2.2m of private sector investment. The fund in its entirety; which is managed by The FSE Group alongside a partnership with SWIG Finance, who support the smaller business loans element of CIOSIF, has backed a wide range of sectors, from digital technology and communications to boatbuilding, manufacturing and events.

CIOSIF’s first investment was a £750,000 equity deal with Wildanet, an independent superfast internet provider, which will create around 40 jobs over three years. The mostly recently announced deal was a £850,000 loan to shipping container conversion business ISO Spaces, creating 20 jobs.

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) was launched by the British Business Bank last year in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.

 

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund – One Year On from British Business Bank on Vimeo.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, at the British Business Bank, said:Helping to create a more diverse finance market and reversing regional economic imbalances is a key objective of the British Business Bank and we’re delighted to see such a diverse range of businesses taking advantage of the availability of this investment in the first year of the fund.

“These investments also show that the fund can unlock other sources of finance to support growth, and it’s important that businesses are aware that there are more funding options available than traditional bank lending.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “The LEP worked hard with its partners to get this fund over the line because there was an identified gap in debt and equity finance in our region. It’s great to see local businesses benefitting from the fund, growing and creating jobs.”

For Ian Calvert, CEO and founder of Wildanet, the CIOSIF equity deal has enabled rapid growth of the start-up business which will shortly locate to Liskeard and aims to employ 50- staff by the end of 2021: “Without the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund we wouldn’t be here. They understood what a young start-up company needed and that for us was really refreshing, talking to very experienced people. I can highly recommend them – it’s a unique asset for Cornwall, it really is.”

And Ben Treleaven, ISO Spaces Managing Director, said the CIOSIF loan had come at a crucial point for the company, and would allow it to progress its modular hotel offering nationally: “This is an opportunity for significant growth and the funds will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and take on major new contracts at a time when traditional finance streams are not readily available to us.”

The CIOSIF provides commercial debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The fund is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.

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

£300,000 LOAN TO HELP IT FRAUD PROTECTION COMPANY FOR TELECOMS SECTOR GROW

A real-time fraud protection company that has established cutting edge software to revolutionise the telecommunications industry by offering a unique fraud tracking and blocking solution for companies is the latest organisation to be supported by The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator.

Farnham based, Six Degrees Labs Limited were established in 2016 and have secured a £300,000 growth loan, which will enable the company to recruit additional resources to facilitate the growing demand for their products.

Six Degrees have created a sophisticated and effective, identification fraud prevention system which helps stop telecoms operators and their customers from losing money. Six Degrees provide their clients with RVS software which prevents direct fraudulent calls and they have also developed their own software to prevent SIMBOX fraud. SIMBOX Fraud occurs when fraudsters insert SIM cards into a server which connects 30 SIMs to the network per server. Some ‘SIMBOX networks’ have 10 or 20 of these in operation that can handle 300 to 600 concurrent fraudulent calls into the local networks. The SIMBOX software is able to monitor calls coming in and attributes a score to any potentially fraudulent numbers, once a pattern is determined the number is automatically blocked from calling.

Six Degrees have also extended the system to completely prevent telecoms customers from receiving annoying and harmful ‘Wangiri’ calls, where people are left in a missed call in the hope that the person called will return the call and be charged for premium rate or expensive international calls, from which the fraudsters receive a share of those costs. Vodafone, Three, BT and nearly all operators across the world are all experiencing high volumes of these harmful Wangiri calls for which they require an effective solution to prevent.

Six Degrees Labs Limited, Managing Director, Bryan Rowe said: “Over the last few years, Six Degrees has grown from a small software company for a couple of customers into one of the most successful real-time fraud prevention technology companies internationally. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals in the future. The funding will allow us to expand our operations into the UK market, with the relocation of our head office to Farnham.”

Derek Ellis, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said: “Six Degrees team is made up of highly skilled individuals who have an abundance of experience in the telecoms fraud industry, which puts the company in a strong position to grow in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with Bryan and his team during this exciting new chapter and wish them all the success.”

Kathy Slack, CEO, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “As the Enterprise M3 region’s growth in high-value, hi-tech sectors continues, it is crucial that cyber-security moves at the same pace. We are delighted that we can help Six Degrees, experts in this field, to overcome the growth obstacle of access to finance and so, enable them to develop further their impressive technology. It is also great news that Six Degrees are placing their confidence in the Enterprise M3 region by locating their head office here.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. 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.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

Basingstoke Business Optimised for Growth with EM3 Expansion Loan

A company that specialises in ATM optimisation for the retail and banking sector has secured £200,000 from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme to fund the next stage of their business growth.

Retail and Financial Services Limited, based in Basingstoke, are filling the gap in White Label ATM solutions. Through the company’s optimisation of networks and their associated systems, ATMs which are operated and maintained by a non-bank organisation are able to run at reduced operating costs and on enhanced systems. The solutions offered can be as much as 70% cheaper than traditional ATM models and cover both long-standing and new functionality such as multi-currency needs. The companies End2End solutions and analytical tools are also able to predict machine failures, allowing their clients to replace a part before the machine is taken offline. Failure prediction is one of the factors which allows for maximum machine uptime in excess of 99% cash availability.”

Andrew Martin, CEO at Retail and Financial Services Limited, said, “The Payments marketplace is changing at a rapid speed and we see a revolution coming with cardless transactions. Our products help our clients to be part of this payments revolution by bringing them up to speed with the technology changes and ensuring they remain leading edge. This funding will allow the company to further improve our infrastructure and will also enable us to focus on expanding our ever-growing team.”

Derek Ellis, fund manager at The FSE Group, which manages the EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Andrew is one of the leading figures in the ATM world. He and his team have developed innovative software that hugely benefits not only their clients but also the end user – the general public. In a fast-paced sector, Retail and Financial Services are well equipped to continue their rapid growth journey. We are looking forward to working with them and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Retail and Financial Services are a great example of the type of business our Expansion Loan Scheme seeks to support. They are already commercially successful yet continue to grow and an Enterprise M3 cash injection can really accelerate this expansion. Retail and Financial Services are carrying out innovative, technological work which contribute to our region’s reputation in this field and as their technology enables their clients to reduce costs, they are helping other businesses to grow.”

The EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator, which also includes a short-term trade 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.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Retail and Financial Services visit: www.retail-bcg.com/

Shipping container conversion business will create new jobs with help from CIOSIF

A Truro company developing innovative spaces for living and working is the latest business to receive funding from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

ISO Spaces repurposes some of the world’s 14 million unused shipping containers into usable areas for commercial and community activity, as well as modular housing.

Since the business was launched in 2011 it has moved from converting containers into garden offices and gyms, to providing classrooms, commercial office space, bars and cafés, show rooms and pop-up shops for well-known brands.

The £850,000 CIOSIF loan will be used to almost double the workforce and recruit and train around 20 new staff as well as increase technical and production capacity and implement a marketing strategy to drive the growth of the business.

Ben Treleaven, ISO Spaces Managing Director, said: “Over the past eight years we have expanded our bespoke build service to meet the requirements of clients using shipping containers for many different uses. The CIOSIF loan comes at a crucial point, enabling us to progress our hotel offering, developing and deploying our new permanently portable modular product to deliver hotel units nationally over the next three to five years. This is an opportunity for significant growth and the funds will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and take on major new contracts at a time when traditional finance streams are not readily available to us.”

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 FSE Group.

Tim Williams, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, added: “Having built a reputation for delivering a high-end product, ISO Spaces has developed a niche solution that meets both the practical and aesthetic needs of its clients. The management team is in a strong position to take on the growing demand for its units and we look forward to supporting them in realising their ambitions to become a £10m turnover company in the next two to three years.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “ISO Spaces is a fantastic example of a Cornish business creating high-quality employment for local talent. The company already has five Falmouth University graduates on its 23-strong payroll and the new jobs, set to be filled in the coming 18 months, will provide further opportunities in the county.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank commented: “This loan demonstrates how CIOSIF is once again assisting a local business to realise its growth potential and create jobs. Finding growth finance at the right time can be challenging for a small, expanding enterprise and we are delighted to see the investment fund doing exactly what it was set up to deliver.”

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

Peter Wroe Joins The FSE Group Board

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund manager that provides loan and equity funding for small ambitious growing businesses, is pleased to announce that Peter Wroe has joined their board of directors. Peter is a qualified accountant and has formerly worked for BT PLC, holding senior roles across finance, procurement, governance and public sector delivery. Peter relocated to Cornwall 8 years ago and is currently the Finance Director at The Eden Project and a Non-Executive Director at Visit Cornwall.

Commentating on the appointment, Robert Spencer, Chairman of The FSE Group, said, “We’re delighted to welcome Peter to our board of directors. Over the last 12 months we have grown rapidly and now have over £140million under management. In Peter we have someone who is highly experienced, with a broad commericial background as a finance director. His knowledge and experience will be of great help as we continue our growth journey.”

Peter Wroe, said, “I am pleased to have been invited to join the Board of the FSE Group. The work that FSE do as a Community Interest Company across the South East, East of England and South West is vitally important to help businesses grow, and the economy to prosper. I look forward to being part of the FSE team to help our public and private stakeholders to succeed in achieving further significant growth in the future.”

The FSE Group manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders, providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25k to £2m. The FSE team focuses on business potential and works alongside entrepreneurs and SME business owners to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

For more information about The FSE Group visit: www.thefsegroup.com