KC has launched an investment fund of £300,000 to provide start-up and growth financing for businesses in the digital and technology sectors in Hull and East Yorkshire and we were invited to the launch last Friday at the Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby.
(As a quick note, the Hallmark group has done a superb job giving the previously woeful hotel a major overhaul and I would recommend it).
It was a good turn out, with support from Alan Johnson, who spoke about how important it is for the city and local area. Martin Lauer from The One Point gave an excellent talk about his experiences getting funding and support from Sirius – he had nothing but good things to say and reinforced that something like this can make a huge different to the success of a company.
We gave an overview of the exciting digital community in and around Hull and also talked about some of the huge shifts in technology we are seeing such as smart devices, the post-pc era and the rise of the ‘app’! What was noticeable was the attendance; whilst excellent, was mostly from established companies and possibly not from the type of fledgling businesses / people who are going to be the ones who are going to benefit from KC Invest.
However, the good news is that we hope to get Sean Royce along to a MeetUp in the very near future to explain to the digital / tech community just how easy it is to apply to the fund.
KC Invest is a bold step which makes a huge amount of sense and we wish it all the best.
Details of the fund can be found below:
Through the fund, called KC Invest, KC hopes to stimulate business growth in the region’s economy and help create new, sustainable jobs for local people.
The KC fund will be administered by two local enterprise agencies, the Acorn Fund and Sirius. They will each receive £150,000 from KC to distribute as loan financing to business start-ups and expanding businesses in the sectors KC is focusing its support on.
Both the Acorn Fund and Sirius are Community Development Finance Institutions that are able to deliver loans through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Because the financing provided by KC will be matched by ERDF, the total cash available to local businesses will be £600,000.
People who apply for KC Invest funding through the Acorn Fund or Sirius will also have access to mentoring and support to make sure their fledgling business has the best possible chance of long-term success. Feasibility grants will also be available to fully explore business ideas where more market research is needed before financing is agreed.
Sean Royce, KC’s Finance and Commercial Director, said: “The ‘perfect storm’ caused by the banking crisis and public sector cuts mean that not only is the job market depressed, but it’s also harder than ever for people to obtain finance to set up their own businesses and create work for themselves and others.
“Yet we need those new businesses more than ever now to stimulate growth and help the country’s economic recovery.
“Through the KC Invest fund we want to give practical support to new business start-ups to help support the local economy and create new jobs.
“While we have the desire and resources to do this, we’re not experts in small business support, which is why we’re partnering with the Acorn Fund and Sirius, who both have excellent and long track records in supporting new business start-ups.”
Peter Sykes, Fund Manager at the Acorn Fund, said:
“KC’s commitment to the local enterprise economy is to be commended. We cannot have enough of this type of financial and hands-on support for new start-ups. It is to be hoped that the KC Invest fund can set an example of other leading local employers to get involved in the local community in a way that can help breathe new life into our economy.”
Alan Gordon-Freeman, Managing Director of Sirius, said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for those involved in technology to develop and grow their own businesses. The funding can help to attract other forms of finance as well as bring other specialist support such as business management and marketing.”
People who are interested in applying for KC Invest finance can contact the Acorn Fund on 01482 324976 / www.hullbdf.com or Sirius at 01482 890146 / www.sirius-hull.co.uk. More information is available on KC’s website here.