Finance Yorkshire fine tunes Sheffield firm

Left to right: Christina Milnes, Managing Director of Wilson Benesch Ltd, Ian Howson of Finance Yorkshire and Craig Milnes, Design Director at Wilson Benesch

High performance audio equipment, thought to be the most advanced in the world, has been invented, developed and manufactured in Sheffield with the help of funding from Finance Yorkshire.

Wilson Benesch manufactures high end audio loudspeakers and turntables for domestic and professional use.

The company has introduced a raft of new technologies for its latest flagship design, the Cardinal Loudspeaker, after a £50,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire bought specialist tooling equipment.

Craig Milnes, Wilson Benesch design Director, said: “Since its foundation in 1989, Wilson Benesch has continually pushed the boundaries of audio product design and manufacture.

“We are unique in this field in that we have a fully integrated design and manufacturing capability in both metals and advanced carbon fibre composites. From the research and development to the manufacturing - it is all done in Sheffield.

“The level of control that we have ensures that we can consistently produce components and finished products of the highest quality.”

Today, Wilson Benesch employs 17 highly trained employees and is regarded as a world-class innovator in its field. The majority of its products are exported to more than 30 countries.

Craig continued: “A lot of ‘manufacturers’ typically buy in cabinets or drive units or both in some cases from abroad and then put an English badge on it, in contrast we are at the start and the conclusion of each and every product that we make.”

Wilson Benesch began developing the Cardinal speaker around four years ago. The first pair has just been shipped to Moscow and six more orders have been taken. The Cardinal retails in the UK at £54,950.

“We are in the global market for extreme precision, high end audio performance. The Cardinal is the ultimate in sound technology and appeals to high net worth customers with a discerning eye for aesthetics as well as engineering” said Craig.

“The Cardinal is the most advanced loudspeaker ever developed by Wilson Benesch and there is nothing else this advanced in the market currently. Measuring more than 6ft tall and weighing more than 130 kilos, the design is composed of high precision machine alloys and state of the art carbon fibre based advanced composites.

“The plant and equipment required to create these systems is very expensive. The materials are also, extremely expensive which is why we approached Finance Yorkshire for investment.”

Ian Howson, Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, said: “Wilson Benesch’s application was successful as their portfolio proves it is an innovative company at the forefront of products and procedures.

“It is a global niche brand with numerous export markets and it continues to grow whilst promoting Sheffield as the home of manufacturing on a world-wide scale. The investment has allowed the firm to remain in control of how its ground-breaking product is produced.”

Wilson Benesch used the business loan to invest in a CNC machine, additional resin transfer molding technology (RTM), and a variety of high precision metal and carbon composite tooling.

The funding has also helped the company to take on another engineer who has recently graduated with a first from Sheffield Hallam University and an apprentice Carbon Composites Technician. Orders for the Cardinal have now come in from across the world, including Russia and Singapore.

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 £30million 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, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or ring 0845 649 0000.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire