Funding offsets expansion risk

Funding offsets expansion risk

Grow your business and offset the risk; that’s what veteran porkpie producers, the Vale of Mowbray are doing. The company, based just off the A1 at Leeming Bar, are one of Yorkshire’s great food success stories and with sales of over one and a half million pork pies each week, they demonstrate just how effective Yorkshire is at meeting the nation’s food demands.

Since it began its new existence in 1995, the company’s expanded to three bakeries with growing factory lines. Now, with sales of 20 million, it’s looking to grow by 50% to safeguard contracts with current suppliers and meet increased demands. The result is a £6million expansion that will open up a new factory unit. But that kind of expansion comes with its own set of risks.

Two years ago, when the business first decided it was going to expand, it looked into the idea of using grant funding to offset its risks. At the time, it found the process to be long, exhausting and ultimately unsuccessful with little feedback to indicate why. Six months afterwards, they lost the market position that had led them to look into expansion opportunities and it wasn’t until another 18 months had passed that they were ready to look at growing their business position again.

This time, the business was wary about the idea of using a grant to expand. After the wasted effort of its previous application, it didn’t  want to set itself up for failure again. But when the business was discussing its growth plans with Hambleton council’s Business and Community Officer, the idea of applying for the new Business Grant Programme was put forward. Unlike the Vale of Mowbray’s previous grant, the Business Grant Programme is focused on making it easy for businesses to expand if they were creating jobs.

The logical application process is clearly signposted to guide businesses and the fund manager is on hand to answer any questions that the business has and can tell them straight away if it’s worth their time to apply. But the £6million project was going to need more than a logical application process to get it off the ground.

Fortunately the Vale of Mowbray is big enough to have its own team members who can look after and manage opportunities like grant funding but it was still able to tap into the expertise and support that was available from Hambleton District Council, The Local Enterprise Partnership and at Clive Owen and Co, their accountants. At Clive Owen and Co, partner Neville Baldry already had experience in putting together grant applications and was able to help the project secure the funding it needed and offset the risk of the expansion enough for it go ahead.

Looking back on it now, having successfully pulled down 600,000 towards their 6 million expansion, the business felt confident that their application would be a success because they had the opportunity to clearly lay out their aims and how they were going to develop. Not only where they going to increase their sales 50% and safeguard existing jobs, they’d also be able to create 63 new ones. Because the Business Grant Programme could take a chance on the business, the business could afford to take a chance on expansion and grant funding is still available until the end of the year. The Business Grant Programme can provide grants of up to £1million and cover up to 20% of your expansion’s capital costs. To find out more, visit www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/bgp