Claire Budden, founder of Midwater Luggage and Andy Nichols, senior business loans manager at GC Business Finance
Rochdale manufacturer Midwater Luggage has secured a £26,000 investment from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, managed by GC Business Finance in partnership with MSIF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, to increase production and support a sales drive across its portfolio.
Mother of four Claire Budden launched her luggage business from her garden shed in 2005 and has gone on to develop an extensive range of products for the nursery, sporting and pet markets, from dog beds and travel bags to shotgun cases. Many of the bags and accessories are bespoke designs that can be made to order and are sold primarily to other businesses and retailers.
Having built up the business and moved to a commercial unit in Rochdale, Claire approached GC Business Finance for a funding injection that would enable her to purchase more stock, speed up her production process and recruit two more machinists to fulfil new orders.
Claire said: “Earlier this year the business had reached a frustrating plateau. We were getting more and more orders from clients but were unable to deliver them because we needed our payments to clear in order to buy more stock. We hadn’t considered external financing before but realised that without it we would never be able to expand.
“The NPIF funding from GC Business Finance was very transparent and quick to draw down and has meant that we were immediately able to buy the stock we need to meet our increasing B2B customer demand, putting us ahead of the game for pursuing and delivering new orders.”
Andy Nichols, senior business loans manager at GC Business Finance, said: “The issue Midwater Luggage was facing is very typical for a young business that is keen to grow. Claire was stuck in a catch 22, turning down orders because of a lack of funding that would keep the sales cycle turning. Introducing a funding cushion like this can often give a business the breathing space it needs to move forward and focus on creating orders and jobs for the future.”
Sue Barnard, senior manager at British Business Bank, said: “This is a company that embodies the true entrepreneurial spirit of the North West, from its humble garden shed beginnings to a company that now caters to a diverse range of B2B clients.
“The microfinance investment will provide Midwater with further operational improvements, such as the recruitment of specialist personnel. The company has come on leaps and bounds over its short journey and we look forward to watching it go from strength to strength as it continues to grow.”
Midwater Luggage received support with their funding application from Access to Finance, a service of GC Business Growth Hub, and the funding was also supported by an Enterprise Finance Guarantee, a British Business Bank product.
The Northern Powerhouse 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.
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