Nottinghamshire-based halal baby food manufacturer, For Aisha Baby Foods (For Aisha), has received a £400,000 investment to develop new product ranges and meet overseas demand.
For Aisha received the funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This follows on from an initial equity investment from the MEIF East & South East Midlands Equity Fund, managed by Foresight Group.
The company, which operates out of Edwalton, will use the funding to accelerate For Aisha’s expansion plans, initially recruiting a Commercial Director to develop its UK business as an immediate priority as well as to take the brand into new overseas markets, whilst the further additional two positions will strengthen the business as it grows. The finance will also allow it to focus on increasing stock levels to meet current UK and overseas demand, whilst developing new products to add to their range.
For Aisha is currently the only major commercial certified brand of Halal and Tayyib baby food in the UK. Its main aim is to help infants to broaden their tastes when solids are introduced, with blended ingredients incorporating gentle spices. The business has won 20 national food awards, including the “Made for Mums” and “World Food Innovation” awards.
Joy Parkinson, Executive Chair of the business said: “Thanks to The FSE Group for guiding us through the funding process. We are really looking forward to strengthening the team, building stock which will allow us to meet both our supermarket and online shop orders.
The funding will also enable us to conduct research to develop exciting new recipes aimed at older toddlers. We are really looking forward to the range extension and getting more toddlers experiencing lots of different tastes from our selection of varied meals.”
Ann Marie McFadyen, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund, added: “For Aisha is an established brand with a strong existing client base. The range is readily available in leading supermarket chains as well as directly from their website. The business has the capacity to ramp up the production of their products to meet the growing demand for their brand. We look forward to seeing the brand go from strength-to-strength.”
Lewis Stringer, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is committed to supporting growth in Midlands’ businesses, with The FSE Group providing further follow-on funding to help For Aisha expand its food product offering and secure additional market opportunities. We’re delighted to see that MEIF has already backed a number of innovative businesses in the region’s thriving food and drink sector.”
Will Morlidge, Interim Chief Executive at D2N2 LEP said: “For Aisha is an amazing success story and a great example of an innovative firm investing in new product lines to support their growth ambitions. I’m delighted the Midland Engine Investment Fund is continuing to improve productivity and support job creation across the region.”
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was managed by the British Business Bank 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 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.