IC Innovations

Business Loans Case Study

Left to right: Melanie Reynolds, Finance Yorkshire with Tristan Cowell of IC Innovations

It supplies Homebase, Waitrose, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsburys along with major High Street chains, garden centres and independent customers. It also distributes products for 3M, the manufacturer of Scotch tape.

The Company

In 2010, IC Innovations operated from a small office and needed investment to buy Christmas stock. Managing Director Tristan Cowell recalls: “The banks weren’t so keen to provide facilities as our balance sheet wasn’t strong enough.”

Finance Yorkshire spotted the potential of the business and provided a £50,000 investment– one of the first made by the business fund.

“Initial backing from Finance Yorkshire made a huge difference to our working capital. We are now repaying that confidence by growing as predicted,” says Tristan

“Our growth has been driven by the launch of new product ranges and continued support from our fantastic multiple and independent retail customers.”

The Challenge

Since 2010, IC Innovations has grown its workforce from four to 20 people but, having been based in three different offices over the years, its latest accommodation on a business park had also reached capacity.

Finance Yorkshire involvement

Further investment from Finance Yorkshire and other lenders enabled IC Innovations to purchase a historic, three-storey office building in Sheffield city centre.

It also received investment from Santander and Sheffield City Council via the Regional Growth Fund.

The business relocated its offices, design studio and showroom from Sheaf Bank Business Park in Heeley to a new site on Attercliffe Road in Sheffield city centre, a historic building originally known as part of Albion Works.

“Our new premises are a real step-up” said Tristan.

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire’s Melanie Reynolds, said: “When we first invested in IC Innovations, we could see a bright future ahead for this entrepreneurial business. With our ongoing support, they have cultivated relationships with major retailers and developed new exciting products. We believe the best is yet to come from Tristan and his team at IC Innovations.”

Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive at Finance Yorkshire, said: “IC Innovations is a superb example of the type of business that Finance Yorkshire aims to support, demonstrating the long-term support we provide and the development that the company has been able to accomplish. At a time when it was unable to secure funding from traditional lenders, Finance Yorkshire was able to step in and provide crucial working capital. IC Innovations is now a major regional success story, creating wealth and jobs.”

Future Expectations

With 50 per cent of turnover generated in the final quarter of each year, the business is already building product ranges for Christmas 2017. It has developed relationships with suppliers in Asia and opened a showroom in the Far East. In addition the company has plans to explore more internationally-based opportunities.

Note: this case study is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire

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