Velobici Ltd secured the funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) – managed by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
The company will use the funds to bolster its workforce over the next three years, creating seven full time jobs, six dedicated to the manufacturing side of the business and a new finance employee.
Velobici manufactures and distributes high-end cycling apparel and accessories. It uses sustainably sourced fabrics and has an adaptable manufacturing strategy that helps limit excess production. The funding will also enable the company to increase stock levels to help meet demand from both UK and export markets.
The company is also planning to move to larger premises, which will increase production capacity and allow the company to grow its distribution channels overseas. Alongside the larger premises, a new range of cycling apparel is being developed for Spring 2022.
Chris Puttnam, Founder and Director of Velobici, said: “Being a keen amateur cyclist myself, I understand the importance of having the correct, high-performance cycling apparel. COVID-19 affected supply chains across the manufacturing sector, but with lockdown restrictions easing, the situation is greatly improving, enabling us to get back to ‘business as usual’, albeit with the correct safety measures in place.
“This funding has not only enabled us to maintain our workforce, but we are now back to full manufacturing strength, fulfilling current orders and scheduling new ones. We take great pride in attention to detail and all our roadwear garments are manufactured by our own master craftspeople from start to finish. The imminent move to our new premises will see capacity increased to deliver a growth in sales.”
Ann Marie McFadyen, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund, added: “Velobici has a highly experienced leadership team, all committed to ensuring the business becomes carbon-neutral by 2025. Its respected high-quality ‘Made In England’ brand, being 100 per cent UK manufactured, is well respected and sought after, both overseas and in the UK by both current and new customers.
“The sector is set to continue to expand, and it is great to see the business getting ready to move to a larger production site to fulfil the increase in orders. We look forward to joining Chris and his team at Velobici on the next stage of their journey.”
Lewis Stringer, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “MEIF funding can be used for a whole range of purposes, from building teams to expanding premises and purchasing equipment. It’s great to see another Midlands’ manufacturing business securing finance from the fund and growing globally.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Velobici is an innovative textile manufacturer whose products and designs are made right here in Leicestershire, keeping our historic heart of the UK textile industry very much alive.
“I’m very pleased that they have secured this funding to enable them to expand their team and invest in the future of their business. It is essential that our local innovative and sustainable manufacturers get the support and funding they need to expand, so they can offer future jobs and opportunities for local people. This is exactly what the Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to do.”
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 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was managed by the British Business Band on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The scheme ended on 31 March and has been replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme.
The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Finance Fund provides loans between £100,000 and £1.5million to help growing SMEs across the region.