SMEs across the North boosted by £100m investment

Gary Guest
Fund Director
Jo Whitfield / Gary Guest FW Capital

The Northern economy has been boosted by over £100m according to figures released for investments made by FW Capital in the financial year ended 31st March 2022.

Loans totalling £35.5m were made directly by FW Capital which attracted co-investment of £69m from the private sector, underlining FW Capital’s long-term economic impact in the region.

The investments have helped local businesses across the North to create and safeguard 1677 jobs - a 79% increase from last year’s figures of 935.

This growth has been delivered through three of the funds FW Capital has under management. The NPIF - FW Capital Debt Finance has funded £88m with a focus on Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, and the Tees Valley. The North East Property Fund has invested £12m and a further £8m was invested through the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund (TVCF), which is managed on behalf of Tees Valley Business, the local growth hub for the Tees Valley and part of the Tees Valley Combined Authority. This fund helps businesses bid for new contracts by providing short-term loans

Gary Guest,  North West Fund Director at FW Capital said: “The level of employment generated as a result of our investments has been impressive, particularly during this crucial period of recovery. Every business has been touched in some way by the events of the last two years and having access to capital has given many business owners the confidence to grow and seek out new contracts. This boosted job creation and the local economy.”

Joanne Whitfield, North East Fund Director at FW Capital said: “£100m of investment funding to the region’s businesses is  testament to the thriving and passionate business owners we have in the North. Our aim is to support business growth and encourage job creation. We are very proud to see businesses we have supported emerging stronger from the pandemic and using our funding to give them the confidence to grow.”

Middlesbrough-based Wilton Engineering Services Ltd (Wilton) is one success story that has benefited from funding from FW Capital.

Wilton has been a portfolio company of FW Capital since 2014, having received a total of £3million from the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund (TVCF) to support project bonding, helping them win over £50m of contracts. Last year Wilton secured a £750,000 CBILS loan from NPIF - FW Capital Debt Finance. to provide the business with working capital during the Covid-19 pandemic. This allowed Wilton to create 20 new jobs and safeguard a further 117 roles. 

The business has continued to grow throughout the pandemic From March 2021 to March 2022 Wilton has created a total of 73 new jobs thanks to this financial backing.

Christine Stobbs, Finance Director at Wilton, said: “We are a massive supporter of FW Capital because its team really take the time to understand our business. This in-depth knowledge means they can respond quickly to funding requests and ensure transactions are completed smoothly, which has been really important to us. 

“We have enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the FW Capital team and received significant funding from the TVCF over the last few years, which has made a big difference to our growth and success. We are very grateful to FW Capital for its continued support and enjoy working with the team.”

Another business that has benefited from NPIF - FW Capital Debt Finance is Lytham St Anne’s business Airship Interactive which has created 50 new jobs after receiving a £450,000 investment. The funding is also supporting Airship Interactive’s significant growth plan which includes securing a second office, alongside investment in research and new service lines.

CEO of Airship Interactive, Joe Harford, said: “The gaming industry has been very strong over the last few years, and we have been able to capitalise on this further demand for our art services and increase our share of the market. Through continued investment we have built a highly skilled team of specialists complemented with the latest technology and equipment and this latest funding will allow us to expand the business even further. 

“We are working with major global gaming companies for some of the highest profile projects and now attract the best talent to join our team. FW Capital has provided exceptional support over the last two years and we’re delighted they are helping us with this next stage of growth. We’re really pleased to continue to work with them.”