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Sheffield City Region

Case Study: IC Innovations

Published: October 2016

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Melanie Reynolds of Finance Yorkshire and Tristan Cowell of IC Innovations

The company

Founder Tristan Cowell launched the business in 2005, initially supplying Christmas stock. More than a decade later, IC Innovations employs 25 people and is projecting turnover of £3.5m in 2016-2017.

The business operates from an historic, three-storey office building in Sheffield city centre.

The challenge

Having established IC Innovations in the garden, kitchen and gift sectors, Tristan and his team were keen to expand their product ranges to include key seasonal events. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have all been added to its product portfolio.

Finance Yorkshire involvement

A £50,000 Business Loan is providing the business with additional working capital to fund large orders from customers gearing up for Christmas 2016 and beyond.

Finance Yorkshire has provided a total of investment of £300,000 since 2010 when IC Innovations operated from a small office and needed working capital to buy Christmas stock.

The funding also enabled the company to purchase its Sheffield premises three years ago, alongside investment from Santander and the Regional Growth Fund.

Tristan Cowell said: “The initial backing from Finance Yorkshire made a huge difference to our working capital. Moving into seasonal events, not just Christmas, has enabled us to extend our product range to new and existing customers who like the stability of the business in that we have bought our own building and have strength in the balance sheet.

The Investment Rationale

Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive of 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

IC Innovations has also moved into branded licensing which has seen deals with BBC Gardeners’ World and BBC Good Food among other major contracts.

Tristan added: “This enables us to design products in partnership with successful brands which in turn helps drive sales through our customers. It also opens up huge export potential of well known, recognisable British brands to markets in the Far East and the US.”

Melanie Reynolds, Portfolio Executive at Finance Yorkshire, said: “IC Innovations is a great success story built on entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to be innovative in its product offer to a broad range of retailers. The cross-selling of products to clients and the potential to export bode well for Tristan and his team.”

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Editors Notes…

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