Financing Options Available to Drive Business Growth, Says Champion

Paul Kalinauckas

Paul Kalinauckas said there is a wider range of funding and funding options available to businesses in the Marches looking to grow like never before.

Paul – the Marches Local Business Partnership’s access to finance champion – said the wide range of funding opportunities could help transform any business that is serious about expanding.

He was speaking as Marches LEP and Marches Growth Hub – its business support service – launched a new access to finance campaign aimed at helping companies access some of the funding on offer.

It will culminate in a special event hosted by LEP, the Growth Center and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund later in the year, bringing together some of the region’s leading financial experts.

“The financial landscape has changed enormously in recent years and there are a wealth of options for businesses wishing to invest in their growth, with millions of pounds of funding available,” said Paul.

Opportunities included grants through programs funded by the European Regional Development Fund, LEP’s own Marches Investment Fund, small business loans, debt financing, proof of concept and equity financing. from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) as well as a range of options through commercial and not-for-profit lenders.

“If you’re serious about growth, you’ll almost certainly need funding to support it – and the Marches Growth Hub is the perfect place to start your search.

“The hub was created to be the gateway to all the funds available in the region and to be there to help all businesses. He can offer truly unbiased expert advice, direct you to the right options, and help you with all the business support needed to realize your ambitions.

Here are examples of businesses that have successfully grown after securing funding:

Cardboard bedding: Cardboard Bedding has moved to Prees in North Shropshire after securing £180,000 from MEIF through the FSE Group, Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The funding also helped the company install two additional production lines to meet demand for its horse and animal bedding products, as well as supporting job creation within the company.

Charcoal Caradoc: The Leebotwood company, set up in 2019 by directors Charlotte Smith and Kevin Fryer, is now selling a by-product of the charcoal-making process called biochar as a soil amendment and animal feed after winning £10,000 from the Small Equipment Grant Scheme. The funding was used to support the purchase of a special sieving machine to classify the biochar into usable sizes. He also helped the company purchase a bagging and weighing machine to upgrade their existing system.

Golden Bear: The world-renowned company from Telford has invested around £150,000 in new facilities and staff to improve its digital offering after receiving almost £70,000 through the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) for new facilities from its head office in Hortonwood. The company used the funding to create a new photography studio and hire new employees to drive online sales growth.

Earth Rover: The pioneering Newport-based start-up that develops cutting-edge technology to help farmers improve crop yields has raised £250,000 from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia. The funding will allow Earth Rover to launch its first product, a “crop tracking” system that predicts the size and timing of crops.

Paul added, “These case studies are just a sampling of the success we’ve had in helping companies access some of this funding in the past, but we know we can achieve even greater success now.

“We want to see more businesses across the Marches take advantage of MEIF, for example, which has already invested over £150m to drive growth in the Midlands and has a strong track record of success in this area.

“The Marches Growth Hub can make a huge difference to your company’s growth ambitions and the time to start looking for the help that is at hand is definitely now.”

For more details on the range of financing options available, visit


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