Knowsley-based speciality chemical manufacturing business, SolidTek, has received a £80,000 loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
SolidTek was incorporated in 2015, by Steve Crick and Gary Harrison, who collectively have over 60 years of experience within the water treatment industry.
SolidTek manufactures solid paste water treatment products to prevent scale, corrosion and microbiological growth in water systems.
The majority of the market is served by the current main form of water treatment product; a diluted liquid delivered in drums. There are health and safety concerns with using traditional liquid formulas including the dangers of handling, spillages and inhaling the harmful chemicals. Additionally, transport costs for liquid chemicals are far greater and contribute significantly more CO2 when compared to SolidTek solid products.
SolidTek is one of a handful of manufacturers of solid paste water treatment solutions in the world. With this product there are no liquids to spill and no loose powders; there are significantly reduced exposure risks to workers and the public.
The £80,000 funding is being used for numerous projects including, the purchase of a new mixer plant and packaging system. This will increase production, speed up order fulfilment, and decrease labour time and costs. It is also being used for improvements to the premises, and website development.
SolidTek is already in discussion with multiple large companies who are looking to understand the innovative product more and use it within their own businesses.
The MSIF Finance Hub supported SolidTek by working closely with Steve, creating all necessary financial documents for their applications; a 2 year cash flow forecast, a profit and loss and balance sheet.
Sue Chambers, MSIF Investment Manager, said: “I’m really happy we were able to help Steve and Gary. SolidTek and the product range they have created is ground breaking within the U.K. and could have a massive impact on the market. There are so many advantages for the end user and the increased health and safety aspect will be a benefit for all. A great business, with great plans for the future.”
George Wright, MSIF Finance Hub Facilitator, said: “It was great to work with Steve on his financials and get to understand the SolidTek business. Steve was always engaging and his industry knowledge is impressive. The Finance Hub is here to help businesses become investment ready, and that is exactly what we did with SolidTek.”
Steve Crick, Managing Director of SolidTek, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding to move our business forward. It was a pleasure working with MSIF and the Finance Hub. The support and advice from George and Sue was, and continues to be superb. We simply could not have got to where we are today without their support and assistance.
We have already begun implementing our plan which includes building refurbishment but most importantly job creation. We have just employed a new apprentice to help deal with our increased production needs. Cameron is 19 and local to the area and has a bright future ahead of him. Our existing employee Tom is about to begin a more advanced scientific manufacturing training qualification to further develop his knowledge and skills as well as add value to the business.”
Mark Basnett, Managing Director of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “I am delighted to see yet another City Region business benefit from funding made available through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
NPIF provides valuable support to our business community, particularly those with high growth potential and we will continue to work closely with the Fund Managers and existing providers to ensure there is a simple joined up approach for business, working through the local growth hub.”
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.
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.