The Branded Items Group in St Helens is set to build on it’s early stage growth with a £25,000 loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance – a product fund managed by GC Business Finance in partnership with MSIF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
The Branded Items Group (BIG) offers over 10,000 different promotional items and branded merchandise, from USB sticks and magnets to branded clothing. After launching in January 2017 initially selling just one range of products, BIG has grown and expanded to now supply over 500 clients including NHS England, the MOD, Cancer Research and St Helens Chamber of Commerce.
After being introduced to GC Business Finance by Dropjaw Ventures, BIG owner Steve Fairhurst will now use the £25k investment to catalyse further growth by investing in a new online platform, CRM, IT and marketing with an initial plan to create two full time roles at the company’s St Helens site.
Steve Fairhurstsaid: “We ran a test company for two years before launching The Branded Items Group and in the process mystery shopped and learned a lot about some of the largest companies in the sector. We felt there was a market for a company that delivered old fashioned customer service in an industry, that at times, can be too transactional and ecommerce driven.
We are set up to compete with anyone on pricing, but as a family owned company, service is the major focus of our business and this has allowed us to grow our client base to include some of the largest organisations in the country. The funding from NPIF means that we are able to invest online and help us plan for further recruitment, build on our reputation and develop our client list even further.”
Mark Gibbons of GC Business Finance said: “In the last two years Steve has developed his business from a start up supplying branded magnets to a really exciting and ambitious company with an extensive portfolio of products. We’re delighted that the NPIF investment will now fund the next stages of the BIG journey and look forward to working with their growing team for many years to come.”
Roy Shelton, Managing Partner of DropJaw Ventures, said: “”Working with Steve and the team at Branded Items Group team is at the core of the access to finance and advisory services we deliver to companies looking to scale up. We’re thrilled to have worked with the GC Business Finance team on the BIG and several other transactions.”
Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “We’re pleased that NPIF has supported BIG in its plan to invest in a new online platform and marketing activities, alongside funding its headcount growth. The company already has an impressive customerbase of over 500 clients including NHS England and Cancer Research, and we look forward to seeing it scale up further, with the use of NPIF investment.”
The NPIF 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.
The MSIF group of funds are managed by Alliance Fund Managers Limited which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the course of investment business. Financial Conduct Authority Registration Number is 180891.
BFS Funding Managers Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Small Authorised UK AIFM under firm reference number 608682.