The global pandemic, COVID-19, has been described as the worst economic crisis for 90
years. Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were forced to furlough their employees or cease trading altogether.
No doubt the months ahead will be challenging in ways that could not have been predicted. In these uncertain times, while the road to recovery is a long one, it is important to remember that UK SMEs are both resilient and creative.
Despite the pandemic-related difficulties faced by Cornish SMEs, The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) has continued to support eligible businesses in the region, from a wide range of sectors. SMEs have been able to secure either debt or equity funding to help their business grow and succeed.
Over the lockdown period, CIOSIF completed the following four new deals:
Penryn-based Red Planet Publishing Ltd, an independent publishing house, producing books, e-books and music (received £80,000 debt equity)
Bude-based Service Robotics Ltd created the UK’s first companion robot, designed to support vulnerable and elderly people (received £300k CIOSIF equity)
Penryn-based Glas Data Ltd developed a data management and decision support tool for agriculture (received £140k CIOSIF equity)
Codices Interactive Ltd designed an interactive video platform for livestreaming (received £250k equity)
Three follow-on investments were also completed during the pandemic, with more deals expected to be finalised in the next quarter:
Redruth-based Wildanet Ltd received further investment which will enable them to continue with the roll-out of high-speed broadband across the county
Truro-based Clinical Designs Technologies Ltd received follow-on funding to assist them with the rollout of their Urine Testing System both in the UK and abroad
Truro-based software company Colateral (formerly known as Swoop Applications Ltd) received follow-on funding to support their continued growth.
Preparing For ‘The New Normal’
As well as deal completions, the CIOSIF team are poised, ready and available, to help SMEs in the region get back on track – achieving accelerated growth post COVID-19, whilst adapting their business to the ‘new normal.’ Their regular, informative webinars, advice and support groups have permitted them to provide this level of care to existing clients, whilst also reaching out to the wider region.
Ralph Singleton, Head of Fund at The FSE Group, adds: ‘Over the past two years, The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Fund has supported 23 local businesses with £5.4m of investment and enabled a further £4.2m of external investment, bringing the total investment into the region via CIOSIF to £9.6m. This investment has led to the creation of 82 local new jobs. The fund has invested in a wide range of sectors including digital technology, healthcare, artisan baking, online retail, support services, recreational activities, and manufacturing.
‘The fund has also spent considerable effort helping companies become ‘investment ready’, which can take time, but will provide better long-term opportunities for the Company, the Fund, and Cornwall.’
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help small businesses across the region grow. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.
CIOSIF is supported 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.
For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, including how to apply, please visit: www.ciosif.co.uk