(l-r) Duncan Proctor of Specialised Laser Products and Grahame Lunt of Finance Yorkshire.
The Finance Yorkshire programme is continuing to invest in the region's scaling businesses after securing a £5m extension to its fund late last year. Could you be the next to benefit?
Securing finance from high street banks can be quite challenging for some businesses which is why many of the UK’s scaling businesses are looking elsewhere to secure funding.
That’s why we’re seeing more SMEs and growing businesses than ever before look to alternative methods of raising finance such as crowdfunding and pitching competitions.
For many Yorkshire SMEs however, the answer isn’t looking to the crowd or experienced investors, it’s looking to seedcorn finance, business loans and equity-linked finance.
Finance Yorkshire provides funding specifically to help small and medium sized businesses meet the gaps in the market for the funding they need for growth and development.
Since its inception in 2010, the programme has invested in more than 470 companies, enabling those businesses to increase their turnover by a total of £452m. Now, it is looking for new investment opportunities in companies that require funding to realise their growth ambitions after securing a £5m extension.
The latest company to benefit from the fund is Rotherham-based Specialised Laser Products, which is looking to turnover £4.5m this year after investing in state of the art machinery and buying its premises in South Yorkshire. The company provides laser cutting services for a wide range of industries and has more than 500 clients nationwide.
As it gets set for further growth, it has secured a £75,000 business loan from Finance Yorkshire, which is part of a funding package that has enabled the company to purchase the premises it had been leasing. Established more than 20 years ago by managing director Duncan Proctor, Specialised Laser Products employs 29 people at its Ford Park premises in Rotherham.
Duncan said: “We have been at Ford Park for the last 16 years and as we have expanded we have taken on further units and now occupy the entire site. Buying our existing premises helps secure the future of the business and keeps us at the same location which is ideal for providing our services to customers nationwide.”
Specialised Laser Products recently invested in the latest laser cutting machines. “This technology combined with our profile cutting and CNC machining facilities enables us to provide an excellent service to the sheet metal industry,” said Duncan.
The company’s customer sectors include engineering, rail, construction and machine knives where it offers a range of materials including mild steel, stainless, aluminium, spring steel, tool steels, copper and brass.
Duncan added: “We are always looking to improve our systems for the benefit of our customers. Our successful growth has been achieved through our commitment to delivering precision and quality products at all times.”
Another business to have received support from the Finance Yorkshire programme is technology company Reset Certification Scheme. Reset is set for further growth after a significant number of organisations joined its competence management system in the health, education and construction sectors.
Reset enables organisations such as NHS trusts, universities and other public and private organisations to verify the competence of third party contractors working on site, ensuring health and safety is optimised.
Companies can use Reset to confirm contractors are competent and qualified to work on site, in compliance with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Construction and Design Management (CDM) regulations.
Finance Yorkshire provided £300,000 from its seedcorn fund which enabled Sheffield-based Reset to further develop and market its technology to a range of sectors which employ contractors on a regular basis such as construction, facilities management, health and education.
Managing director Gary Duce said: “There is a legal duty for organisations employing contractors to ensure they are competent to undertake the task in hand, before allowing them on site.
"Our technology not only helps organisations to do this quickly and easily, but also checks the contractor fully complies with specific requirements, such as public liability insurance, and keeps fully auditable records along the way.
“Finance Yorkshire’s investment supported us at an important time when we were gaining a foothold in the marketplace and needed to ramp up our marketing, sales and software development.”
The £5m extension follows the full investment of Finance Yorkshire’s £113m fund last year. The injection of fresh capital has been made by Leeds City Region and Sheffield City Region LEPs, supported by their respective combined authorities.
Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Specialised Laser Products and Reset demonstrate the valuable role Finance Yorkshire plays in providing SMEs across the region with investment to grow and prosper.
“Both companies are experiencing growth backed by our support and investments and it is satisfying to see their success as well as the ambition and potential to do even better.
“We are now concentrating on making investments from our £5m extension fund following the full investment of our original fund.
"Finance Yorkshire is interested in identifying or being introduced to growing SMEs in both Leeds and Sheffield city regions that need seedcorn, loan or equity linked investment to expand their business, employ people or invest in new equipment.
“Many companies are in good health but still may find it hard to access and attract funding. Where we can provide support, our investments play an important role in filling that gap.
"We look forward to talking to regional businesses about their funding requirements and will work closely with our partners to highlight the investment opportunities available.”