Manchester photographic business Grey Box Studio Ltd has been awarded £100k of funding, £50k each coming from Barclays Bank and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance.
The £10m NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance provides loans between £25k and £100k to SMEs across the North West and is managed by alternative finance provider Business Finance Solutions (BFS) and by MSIF.
Grey Box is a successful creative content and photographic studio, specialising in the fashion sector with clients including Joules Clothing, Cotton Traders and Matalan.
Founded in 2014 by Directors Simon Grimley and Lindsy Agana, the business currently employs four members of staff at its studio in Ardwick and will be using their loan from Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Barclays Bank to develop a new 6000sqft premises in Salford, to diversify into food and drink photography and to grow their team to ten by the end of 2017.
Simon Grimley, Director of Grey Box said: “Our goal is to become the number one creative content agency in the UK and securing this loan from Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Barclays gives us just the injection of investment we need to take our growth to the next level.
“The retail marketplace today demands that brands are represented by the very best quality imagery which is exactly what we deliver for our clients. Our reputation for excellence, results and hard work speaks for itself and we look forward to the next phase of our growth which will see us expanding into other sectors, doubling our team and launching state of the art new premises.”
Director of Business Finance Solutions Paul Breen said: “Grey Box is a highly innovative and ambitious company that was unable to secure the full amount of funding they needed from the bank. Our relationship with Barclays meant that we could partner with them to create a co-funded option with Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund that enables Simon and Lindsy to secure the investment and the confidence they need to build on their reputation and to grow in a local, national and global marketplace.
“This loan also illustrates the proactive and synergetic SME support structure that we now have in place in Greater Manchester. Grey Box was originally referred to us by the Business Growth Hub’s Access to Finance service. Working in partnership with private sector partners like Barclays and the Growth Hubs, allows us to offer an even wider and more flexible choice of alternative finance to the region’s businesses.”
Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “The North is brimming with small businesses that have the capability to compete with the biggest players in their respective sectors. Grey Box is a great example of an ambitious company with the expertise to become one of the largest agencies in the country, and this funding will act as an important step in supporting the company as it continues to grow.”
Michael Curran, Barclays Business Manager said, “This is a great business and strong management team, which is well placed to achieve significant growth. The close relationship we’ve developed helps us to understand the key drivers for the business which, in turn, has enabled us to deliver a funding solution that fully satisfies their ongoing requirements.”
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.
Photo Caption: Jodie Thackeray, James Clark, Jade Kidded and Simon Grimle with Sue Barnard, Senior Relationship Manager at the British Business Bank