Construction firm secures funding ahead of export expansion
Construction firm Fast-Form Systems is targeting international growth after winning a major investment from Finance Yorkshire.
The Grimsby-based formwork business helps companies to reduce build times, costs and carbon use by supplying reusable, adjustable stainless steel brackets that hold plywood or polymer boards securely in place during concrete pours.
An independent study by the Grimsby Institute showed that Fast Form Systems reduces the carbon footprint of a concrete pour by up to 10 times compared to using traditional timber shutters.
Fast-Form Systems has now secured a £350,000 funding package from Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn fund, which invests in early stage, innovative ventures.
Founder and Director Tony White said the funding will enable Fast-Form to invest in stock and add experience to the management team. The company recently hired Stewart Wright as Commercial Director.
“We are developing new products all the time. We are winning business and we have to keep pace with that growth,” said Tony.
“The impact on carbon footprint is pretty dramatic. If you factor in a busy company with multiple sites then the savings with our system are immense.”
Fast-Form recently secured a contract from Balfour Beatty that could help to prevent flooding and line closures on the London Underground. Tony explained: “We have planned and designed a special system for the Underground. When it rains, water can get into the gravel that holds the rail sleepers, which can cause flooding in the tunnel and close the railway. Our equipment will help them to replace the sleepers with a solid concrete base and drainage channel.”
Tony said this contract, along with others for the Ministry of Defence and Network Rail, was a good example of how Fast-Form is providing bespoke solutions for clients, for which the potential spreads beyond the UK’s borders. “We have proved the business model and the concept, now we are looking at export for growth. We are already getting enquiries from the Middle East, USA and Australia and will look to expand in these markets via the local distributor networks,” he said.
Fast-Form Systems, which now employs 10 people, only began trading early in 2014. Tony White is a construction industry veteran who initially designed a steel bracket system for concrete pouring 20 years ago. It evolved into Fast-Form.
The Fast-Form system has already been used in high-profile projects including flood defence works for the Environment Agency, London Cross Rail, and the seating conversion for the new Olympic Stadium, which re-opens to the public in 2016.
Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “This is the latest example of Finance Yorkshire making a difference to companies seeking access to finance. We pride ourselves on enabling innovative businesses such as Fast-Form Systems to realise their potential, secure contracts and create jobs.”
Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Graham Davies added: “When we were first introduced to Fast-Form Systems, we knew Tony was on to something special. It’s fantastic to see him using his vision and experience to win new contracts and we share his vision that Fast-Form Systems has tremendous export potential.”
Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 9,656 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £280 million and generated private sector leverage of £173 million.
Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.
The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, UK Government and match funding from the European Investment Bank.
For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or call 0300 030 6060.
Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire