News

Media Enquiries Please contact Tom Clarke
Tel: 01276 608513
Email: tom.clarke@thefsegroup.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

Whitehall Finance Closes Funding Round

Supply chain finance Fintech, Whitehall Finance have successfully completed their latest funding round. The round includes investment from Cirdan Capital Management and The FSE Group, through the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund. Founded in 2015, Whitehall Finance provide innovative supply chain finance, unlocking the potential for businesses and suppliers to obtain immediate payment for their approved invoices.

Colin Levins CEO of Whitehall Finance, commented, “We are delighted to welcome our new investors who share our belief in the opportunity to make Supply Chain Finance and dynamic discounting a mass market product. Our product provides a new flexible source of finance for SMEs and also enables larger corporates, local authorities and educational institutions to pay their suppliers early and share in the benefit of providing this fully flexible service to their suppliers, thus creating a risk-free treasury alternative to placing surplus funds on deposit with banks or money market depositors.”

Simon Labahn, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, commented, “We are pleased to back Whitehall Finance in this funding round. In Colin and the Whitehall team they have a highly experienced founder and team who have previously scaled a business within this sector. We are excited about the market opportunity and the vision for the product moving forward. We wish them all the success for the future.”

TVB Growth Fund is part of Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire. The escalator, which also includes four separate loan schemes, provides eligible companies – from start-up to established – with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Simon Labahn simon.labahn@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608533.

Six-figure Sum to Help Music Festival Organiser to Grow

An events company organising music festivals, private functions and other events near Bude is the latest company to be supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

The Wyldes, which held its first festival in 2008, has successfully secured a large six figure CIOSIF loan.

The Wyldes hosts a number of music concerts at its farm-based site with its main event, the Leopallooza Festival, having grown substantially year on year with attendance and revenues doubling in the last five years. The event now attracts a line-up of top-quality music and comedy artists.

The Wyldes co-founder, Sam Dunnett, said: “Over the last decade, Leopallooza has grown from a small event for our friends and family into one of the most successful festivals in the region. Obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals, but it is not easy in this unique industry. We are thrilled to have secured this CIOSIF loan, which enables us to improve the site, invest in new equipment and increase and upskill our team.”

Tim Williams, fund manager at the FSE Group, said: “It is difficult for any SME to grow without financial support and advice; CIOSIF can make a big difference in providing the funding required, which might not be readily available from traditional finance sources. The Wyldes has a strong team who have gained considerable experience in this niche sector and are ready to take the business to the next level. We are happy to be working with them through this next stage of growth.”

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.

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, added: “The Wyldes has established itself as one of the premier events venues in Cornwall, attracting global acts and making a significant contribution to the cultural economy. Their use of local contractors means there is a direct benefit to local businesses from events and we’re pleased the fund has been able to support them.”

Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, added: “This loan is helping The Wyldes to invest in their infrastructure and their team, which will underpin future events and future growth. It’s great news for music fans in Cornwall and beyond, and will boost the visitor economy.”

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. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local LEP and HM Government.

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

£200,000 LOAN TO HELP IT PLATFORM FOR HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY GROW

An IT company that has developed cutting edge software to revolutionise the hospitality industry by providing an innovative ordering payments and E-money banking solution is the latest company to be supported by The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator. Staines based, Cibo Pay who were established in 2015, have successfully secured a £200,000 expansion loan to help them realise their growth ambitions.

Cibo have created an integrated cloud-based food & beverage and retail venue management system, which allows venues to control everything from one platform. This includes features that allow users to manage inventory, staff rotas, purchasing requirements, marketing and a full suite of reporting tools. The company’s platform is already being used by over 100 clients with more being added on a monthly basis.

Cibo Pay’s Chief Executive Officer, Faridoon Qazi said: “Over the last few years, Cibo has grown from a small software company for a couple of clients into one of the most successful hospitality 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 with the creation of a series of marketing and sales positions across the company, as well as enabling us to purchase new equipment to ensure that we remain as market leaders in this fast-paced sector.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said: “Cibo Pay’s team is made up of highly skilled individuals who have an abundance of experience in the hospitality and payments sector, which puts the company in a strong position to grow in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with them through this next stage of growth and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, CEO, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “We are delighted that our Funding Escalator finance is ensuring Cibo Pay can grow and maintain its position as a trailblazing company. Our vision to deliver prosperity with innovation involves financially supporting innovative companies, like Cibo Pay, to reach their full potential which in turn, supports our vision of establishing our region as a global, hi-tech hub.”

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.

Senior Ex Natwest Banker joins FSE Group Board of Directors

The FSE Group, the Camberley based fund manager that provides loan and equity funding for small ambitious growing businesses, is pleased to announce that Paul Marston has joined their board of directors. Paul is the former Managing Director of NatWest Bank for the South of England & Wales.  He was also previously the Managing Director at Lombard and was a Board Director at JCB Finance.  More recently, he has been involved with the setting up of two Challenger Bank business divisions.

Commenting on Paul Marston’s appointment Robert Spencer Chairman of the FSE Group said, “Paul joins at an exciting time for The FSE Group, with the recent launch of the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) we now have over £140million under management. Paul’s 27 years of experience in lending to small businesses as well as setting up two new banks will prove very valuable as our company continues to grow. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Paul Marston said, “I am delighted to have been invited to join the Board of the FSE Group. Their role in bridging a gap in funding for small and growing businesses who may not be able to get bank finance is well known and the funding is crucial for the development of these companies. I look forward to helping the business 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

£750,000 Funding Secured to Help Technology Company Grow

A Penryn-based software company has secured £250,000 investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a £750,000 funding package, which also includes £250k from Cass Entrepreneurship Fund and £250k from the Chelverton Investor Club, managed by Chelverton Asset Management.

FibreCRM has created a specialist cloud-based Client Relationship Management (CRM) system specifically for accountants. The CRM integrates the different technologies used by accountancy practices, allowing an easier flow of information and ultimately helping make accountants’ lives easier.

The company already has an impressive client list boasting some of the UK’s most progressive accounting firms and is experiencing growing interest in its innovative software. The solution helps firms build stronger relationships by being more productive and proactive with their marketing, business development and operations, in addition to bringing much needed visibility throughout the practice.

FibreCRM founder and CEO, Simon Leek, said: “The investment comes at a crucial time, enabling us to grow the team in Cornwall, build capacity to service increasing demand and continue to innovate. We are thrilled that our product is being so well received by the industry, as evidenced by our recent shortlisting for Accounting Excellence’s software innovation of the year award.”

Ralph Singleton, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, the appointed CIOSIF fund manager, commented: “FibreCRM have created a unique offering which the management team has further strengthened through establishing strategic partnerships with other leading suppliers in the industry. They are now well-positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunities available to them and we are pleased to be helping them achieve their goals.”

Richard Bucknell, who led the investment on behalf of Chelverton, and who will join the FibreCRM Board commented; “Simon and his team at FibreCRM are entering a really exciting period, bringing a genuinely value-adding product to a sector that is now beginning to see the benefits that an industry-specific CRM solution can deliver. We’re very much looking forward to working with Simon and our co-investors over the coming years”.

Linda Coyle, Investment Manager at the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund stated “we are impressed with the industry knowledge of the team, the level of customers and partnerships achieved to date and therefore, are delighted to support FibreCRM in their next phase of growth”.

CIOSIF is a £40m fund providing 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).

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “FibreCRM’s software drives productivity through efficient client relationship management, freeing up accountants to concentrate on providing excellent service to their clients. It’s a great business and we wish them every success.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, added: “This is a great example of an ambitious Cornish company taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the CIOSIF funding to grow and address new markets.  It is companies like FibreCRM that will provide the innovation and growth needed for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly economy to thrive.”

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. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

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

CAPITAL INJECTION FOR TOTAL SOLUTIONS GROUP

Welwyn Garden City-based Total Solutions Group (TSG) has secured a growth capital injection from Finance East in a deal supported by Forward Corporate Finance.

TSG was set up in 2014 by managing director Sharmin Akter and focuses on providing facilities and building services, including specialist cleaning, drainage, security and high access work.

The growth capital injection from Finance East enables TSG to invest into its IT systems and connectivity through technician PDAs, attract a new contracts manager and bid co-ordinator, launch a SOLVED365 franchise and retain Jeff Alden as an experienced non-executive director in the facilities sector.

“The growth capital provided by Finance East has enabled us to accelerate the opportunities available to us, whilst keeping the business focussed on the core service delivery to our customers,” said Akter.

Rob Dukelow-Smith led the deal for Forward and said Akter and her team had “a clear vision to provide an exceptional service to customers in areas of facilities and building maintenance that are often difficult contracts to tackle”.

“I know there are more plans in the pipeline for Sharmin and TSG and I look forward to working together with her on those strategies.”

Francis Kenealy, who led the deal for Finance East, added: “From the first moment I met Sharmin, through to completion of the deal, it has been clear to us that her tenacity and desire to grow the business matched the growth capital requirements for Finance East.

“We’re delighted to be able to assist her in the next stages of growth for her business with our capital injection.”

The company was also advised by Mark Stigwood, corporate lawyer at Attwaters Jameson Hill who provided the legal documentation with Finance East and arrangements with other finance providers to TSG.

Creative Photographic and Fine Art Print Studio Completes Funding Round

A West Sussex online platform for storing, selling and printing fine art and photography has received a £200,000 equity investment from The FSE Group as part of a £1.25m funding round. The investment will help the company increase their production facilities in the UK, Europe & The United States.

Launched in 2007 to provide high end printing services to the professional fine art community, Printspace is the leading online fine art and photographic platform in the UK. The platform has attracted over 50,000 users and had 1 million images uploaded. All printing can be ordered from the online platform with 100% colour match ability and allows users to specify the exact size, quality and paper requirements, as well as block mounts and frames, with orders then processed and despatched from their printing facility.

With the online fine art market rapidly growing Printspace developed the proprietary CreativeHub software, as Printspace CEO & Founder Stuart Waplington explains, “PrintSpace is a printing powerhouse with each item receiving a signed certificate of authority whilst CreativeHub is the inhouse software platform for artists which allows for the storing, sharing, networking and selling of artwork. CreativeHub links seamlessly with the e-commerce platform Shopify’s front end, giving artists the ability to earn additional income from their images. As well as focusing on the increase in production facilities, this investment will allow us to scale up the CreativeHub service with the introduction to mobile functionality and AI drive file organisation.”

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “We are delighted to be supporting Printspace as they expand into the European and North American market. When combined, these markets are 14 times larger than the UK and will be the perfect launchpad to drive the business forward. The company already has an impressive client list, including The British Journal of Photography, The Royal Photographic Society, The World Photography Organisation and The Barbican. With the expansion plans in place the company is well placed to continue their growth journey.”

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.

CIOSIF Loan to Help Ethical Homeware Designer Grow

A manufacturer and distributor of ethical and environmentally responsible homeware products is the latest business to receive funding support from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), with an £80,000 loan made up of £35,000 from CIOSIF and £45,000 from SWIG Finance.

Truro based I for Design Limited produces a range of cork products that is proving increasingly popular with retailers from across the region and beyond, with an existing client list that includes Rick Stein, The Eden Project and RSPB. The business has achieved significant growth since establishing its LIGA brand in 2017; the number of stores stocking its designs has increased from 25 just last year to over 200 currently.

David Elderkin, Director at I for Design, said, “As consumers continue to seek more sustainable, ethical products, demand grows for our designs, which are created in-house at our design studio here in Cornwall. We place a strong focus on our environmental credentials, with products made from recyclable materials wherever possible. With this funding we are able to fulfil these growing orders and take on new bespoke design contracts such as one we have recently secured with RNLI.”

The CIOSIF investment will be used to introduce a new pottery range and expand the wholesale operation across I for Design’s product offering as well as help it increase the number of stores it stocks to 300-plus in the next three years. Another of the company’s long-term goals is to increase its export activity and it is currently building this into its business plan.

The deal was led by The FSE Group, with SWIG Finance managing the process as they deliver the smaller business loans part of CIOSIF. SWIG’s Managing Director, John Peters commented: “I for Design has created a unique product range that connects with its target market, as proven by its rapidly growing client base. This is a team primed for growth and we are delighted to be working with them to help achieve their goals both now and in the future.”

John Acornley, non-executive director of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “It’s so important that entrepreneurs like David can access the finance they need to grow, and I’m delighted the fund has been able to support I for Design’s continued growth across the region.”

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, added: “This deal is a good example of how the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund can secure additional investment to provide the level of investment a business needs to achieve its growth ambitions.”

CIOSIF is a £40m fund providing 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).

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. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

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