Vacancies

We are seeking an equity portfolio manager to join our South East team. 

Reporting directly to the Head of South East funds, this is an exciting opportunity to manage a portfolio of high growth, primarily technology focused companies, which are part of EIS and seed stage venture funds. 

Principal accountabilities 

  • To manage early stage equity investments in line with the fund operational guidelines 
  • Responsible for all aspects of portfolio management, including monitoring performance, driving valuation growth and exits, 
  • Attend client Board and strategy meetings on a regular basis, 
  • Represent the funds as an observer on investee company boards as necessary 
  • Preparation of reports and presenting to investors and supervisory bodies  
  • Administration of the funds activities in various aspects 
  • The portfolio companies are based in the South East of England. You must have the ability to travel to and attend company review/Board meetings, albeit some are held remotely via MS Teams. The South East team reconnects 1 day a week (Monday) in the Head office location in Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey.  

Knowledge, skills and experience 

  • Extensive experience at Board level with technology-based SMEs 
  • Relevant equity investment experience 
  • This role is a CERTIFED position as described by the Financial Conduct authority under SM&CR. The successful applicant will be required to demonstrate sufficient skills and experience for the firm to verify their standing under FSMA & SYSC 27 of the FCA handbook. (SM & CR). 
  • Exposure to/knowledge of key industry sectors which may include technology, media, healthcare, education, cleantech. 
  • Advanced excel experience 
  • Independent, motivated self- starter with excellent time management skills and ability to deliver deadlines whilst under pressure. 
  • Flexibility  – Some investee company Board meetings are held outside of normal office hours and you may be required to flex your working hours accordingly.   

About us 

Established in 2002, The FSE Group primarily manages funds on behalf of public sector organisations, EIS investors and universities.  

Our primary goal is to provide tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. With nearing £225m of debt and equity funds under management, the Group is continuing to grow and prides itself on taking an integrated approach to the funding needs of our clients. For more information see www.thefsegroup.com  

With a passion for, and successful history in, managing and deploying market gap funds with an economic impact purpose, we focus on more than pure commercial return to support the growth of SMEs. We promote diversity. We support underrepresented geographies. We are insightful in determining how we can improve an evolving funding landscape and we stimulate sustainability by successfully recycling smaller funds. We are more than money. 

The core values we live by as FSE employees are Collaboration, Innovation, Inclusivity, Sustainability and Delivery. 

With one of our core values being inclusivity, we are committed to a diverse and inclusive team. We are an equal opportunity employer and treat all applications fairly and welcome job applicants from all communities and affinity groups.  

What we offer: 

  • Flexible hybrid working between home and our offices in Blackwater. 

  • A competitive base salary commensurate with your experience banding £55,000 - £60,000 

  • 25 days annual leave plus usual 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. 

  • Ability to join the private medical scheme (50% employer contribution to premium) 

  • Death in Service benefit equivalent to 4x salary. 

Job Role: Full time, permanent. We are prepared to consider applications for 4 days a week. 

You must have the right to work in the UK. 

Strictly no agencies. 

If you would like an informal chat about the role please call Cheryl Weeks, Head of Funds on 07866 835143.  

To apply, please email your CV and covering letter to HRandOperations@thefsegroup.com 

News

A Hampshire based business has secured £250,000 of funding from the Enterprise M3 (EM3) Funding Escalator, managed by The FSE Group. The EM3 expansion loan will be used for further product development and to create up to eight new jobs. 

International Rail has been delivering market leading web-based B2B rail booking solutions to its travel management company and tour operator clients for over 25 years. During that time, its team have built strong relationships with most of the world’s major rail networks, allowing it to offer a search and book service for almost any point-to-point journey in the world.  

With technology acting as a key driver since the company’s inception, International Rail has developed 1track, a proprietary software platform through which it can offer the world’s largest selection of rail journeys and passes. A white label offering, 1track allows International Rail’s clients to offer the service directly to their own customers with an easy to navigate dashboard and integrated payment options. It is also playing a key role in the move towards sustainable travel by providing CO2 emissions data reporting. 

Having many leading travel companies as its clients already, International Rail has recently won a contract as preferred rail booking supplier for the world’s largest travel management company. This presents a huge opportunity for the business and the EM3 funding will help to ensure International Rail can increase capacity and push forward with further platform developments, delivering a seamless service at a time of growth. 

CEO and Founder, Rod Maton, said: “Seeking finance for growth based on a future contract can be challenging, especially when recent trading has been impacted by a global pandemic. Without this funding our 1track platform would see a slower global roll out with developments implemented in stages. Thanks to the more far-sighted approach taken by FSE and the EM3 loan scheme, we are now in a position to expedite our growth strategy and quickly deliver the world’s leading rail booking system, enabling clients to see a full sustainability dashboard and make greener choices accordingly.  

International rail travel has gained huge momentum over the past few years with cross-border rail travel now estimated to be in excess of £3bn and growing.  By comparison, forecasts show that air travel is set to shrink by 10% over the next decade. Driving this are long term shifts in attitude to climate change at governmental, corporate, and individual level coupled with a more innovative and competitive rail landscape across Europe. 

Cheryl Weeks, Head of Funds – South East, at The FSE Group, commented: “Over the past two decades and more, Rod and his team have established networks across the global rail sector resulting in contracts with 90% of the world’s rail companies. This, together with the intellectual property it owns and its unbeatable reputation for outstanding customer service, places International Rail at the very forefront of its sector. This agile team is perfectly positioned take advantage of the growth opportunity available and we look forward to continuing to support them on this journey.” 

Sue Littlemore, Joint Managing Director at the Enterprise M3 LEP said: “It’s fantastic to see the LEP play an important role in helping International Rail stay on track with its ambitious growth plans, allowing the business to develop its products and create new jobs in the EM3 area.” 

 “Technology is part of the way ahead to improving rail services that are efficient, environmentally sustainable and fit for the future and International Rail meets the EM3 vision to support a low carbon, high growth economy perfectly.” 

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator includes an expansion loan scheme, a short-term trade loan scheme and an equity growth fund and 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. 

News

A Worcestershire-based advanced manufacturing and engineering firm has secured £250,000 to create new jobs, diversify its product line and grow its customer base. 

Handling Concepts received funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). The MEIF funding will help to service contracts and invest in 5 high-quality jobs. 

Established in 1994, Handling Concepts provides specialist engineered solutions for materials and industrial process handling. The solutions range from standard production line products to custom designed installations that enable a variety of manufacturers to manage their production process safely and efficiently.  

The business has seen progressive growth and works primarily with UK blue-chip manufacturing businesses in different sectors. Handling Concepts’ success is credited to the exceptional customer care it provides leading to its strong reputation in the market for engineering excellence. 

Karie Burbeck, Chief Operating Officer of Handling Concepts, said: “Over 27 years we have expanded our specialist solutions to meet the requirements of our client base. The MEIF loan comes at a crucial point, enabling us to meet high customer demand as we recover from the effects of the pandemic. This is an opportunity for significant growth and the funds will allow us to invest in key jobs and better service our customers.  

Chris Bailey, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund, adds: “We were impressed by Handling Concepts’ team, strong reputation and high quality products, which has resulted in excellent levels of customer retention. Furthermore, the company has the opportunity to grow in other industries and market itself to new customers. We are delighted to be able to offer this funding and look forward to working with Karie and the team to ensure they reach their goals for growth.” 

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The MEIF recognises the growth potential of small businesses in the Midlands, providing support and growth opportunities to help ensure the whole region is able to grow. The funding for Handling Solutions will create local jobs and enable the company to expand its customer base in other industries.” 

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is fantastic to see yet another Worcestershire business being supported to grow through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. At a difficult time for many, I am pleased to see this support providing Handling Concepts the opportunity to expand their team, bringing 5 high quality jobs to the county. As a result of this investment, the local economy as a whole will benefit and it will help us continue to create growth opportunities across Worcestershire. 

For any Worcestershire businesses looking to access support programmes and funding for your business, please contact the Worcestershire Growth Hub team as they can help you point you to the right support for your organisation.” 

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. 

News

A Bracknell based food production business specialising in Caribbean and Mauritian cuisine has secured funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator. 

Coco Labelle has received a new £168,000 trade finance loan, which follows a £100,000 expansion loan in 2021. With the initial funding used to fit out a commercial unit and obtain food safety accreditations SALSA & Approved Premises Accreditation, enabling the business to scale from a kitchen table catering venture to a full-production operation, this new loan will be used to support the company to deliver a contract to supply the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Set up in 2014 by trainee solicitor turned chef Elisabeth Brown, Coco Labelle provides African Caribbean food served from a vintage truck to street food markets, high-end festivals and private events including celebrity weddings. By 2020 Elisabeth had won a tender on the NHS Supply Chain for the supply of African & Caribbean meals to the NHS and has gained an impressive reputation, with social media endorsement from acclaimed chefs Michel Roux Jr and Nadia Hussain and Chair of NHS Food Review Philip Shelley. 

The contract to supply the Commonwealth Games is substantial, with Coco Labelle providing over 110,000 frozen meals across 35 different recipes.   

Elisabeth said: “With the initial expansion loan helping us to grow our operation capabilities, this latest investment has allowed us to take on a contract that we may have otherwise had to decline. Large contracts often require a level of up-front investment that small businesses like ours do not have the working capital to support. We are grateful to FSE for taking the time to really consider our proposal, see the full potential of our business and continue to back us as we expand. The support of FSE has been incredible. Thank you” 

Simon Blackbourn, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the TVB Funding Escalator on behalf of TVB Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented: “Elisabeth is a resourceful entrepreneur who has deftly balanced the demands of building a business from the family home. Coco Labelle has a demonstrable track record of growth and profitable trading and with its professional kitchen facilities now in place, is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities this brings. We are delighted to continue to support Elisabeth as Coco Labelle delivers this contract and we look forward to working with the business as it grows further.” 

Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, providing eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across Berkshire. 

News

A Cambridgeshire business has secured a £500,000 investment from the East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme, managed by The FSE Group, which will support an increase in production to meet rising demand for its eco-friendly products. 

Receiving thousands of tonnes of coffee grinds from some of the biggest domestic and global brands, including Costa Coffee and Greggs, bio-bean produces a range of sustainable bio-products and is the world's largest recycler of spent coffee grounds.  

Products include its flagship Coffee Logs, an environmentally friendly substitute for mass imported woods and carbon-heavy coals; Inficaf, a raw material for use in bioplastics, cosmetics, packaging, automotive friction (e.g. brake pads) and more; natural flavouring extracts for sustainable alternatives in the food and beverage industries; and coffee biomass pellets for use in industrial-scale biomass boilers. 

George May, bio-bean Managing Director, said: “As a seasonal product for use in wood burners and open fires, we see a huge surge in demand for Coffee Logs during the autumn and winter months. We are grateful to FSE for its forward-looking approach to funding; this Regional Growth Loan has allowed us to ramp up production in advance of orders being received, which means we can manufacture at full capacity to meet demand and help more retailers offer this sustainable product to their customers.”   

If not recycled, used coffee grinds are typically wastefully discarded either in landfill, where they emit the greenhouse gas methane, or in anaerobic digestion. Processing grinds into Coffee Logs saves 130% more emissions than anaerobic digestion. Having built the world's first waste coffee recycling factory, bio-bean has successfully industrialised the process of recycling waste coffee grounds for sustainable use.  

Allen Hall, Head of Funds (East) at The FSE Group, added: “bio-bean is already a successful operation that has established sales in a number of retail outlets including Tesco, B&Q and Waitrose. The management team has invested heavily in product development and production capability and now has an opportunity to scale up in line with market demand. There is a substantial domestic and global market for its range of sustainable products and we are delighted to be supporting this innovative, green-focused business to achieve its goals for growth.”  

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is managed by The FSE Group on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England. Loans between £50,000 and £500,000 are available to established incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100,000. The funding can be used for a range of growth activities as well as to service short to medium-term trade and contract finance requirements. The scheme aims to stimulate job creation and economic prosperity and supports SMEs that have the potential to deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the East of England region.