A £250,000 loan has been awarded to help a Cumbrian artisan cheesemaker expand.
Appleby Creamery secured the cash from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), in a deal financed by NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance.
Founded in 2008, Appleby Creamery is in Appleby-in-Westmorland.
It will use the loan to carry out alterations to its newly-acquired larger industrial unit and to move into new international markets including China and the USA.
The new facility will boast a production facility capable of meeting the most demanding food safety standards.
The loan will also provide the growth capital needed to help this expanding business meet the surge in demand forecast after winning a number of significant new contracts in the UK and overseas.
Appleby Creamery currently employs nine staff and has annual sales of over £500,000 and this is expected to increase as a result of the new funding package.
The business is run by Stuart MacLennan, Mark Callander, Maurice Walton and Pete Crouch.
In 2008, Appleby Creamery launched with a range of premium handmade cheeses.
Ten years on, it has established itself as a specialist artisan soft cheese producer with multiple awards under its belt.
In 2015, Appleby Creamery was acquired by the Cows & Co Group, which operates other businesses operating in the food, drink and sustainable energy sectors.
Mr Walton, managing director of Appleby Creamery, said: "As a growing business we’re faced with the challenges of accessing finance and NPIF has provided us with a platform to make the most of the market opportunities.
"Our strategy is to focus on domestic growth, while exploring opportunities to trade overseas.
"We are already seeing increased interest from customers in Asia and have started the process of licensing our products for sale in the Chinese market, so it’s an exciting time for us.”
The deal marks NPIF’s first large debt investment from FW Capital to back a Cumbrian business since the fund was launched to support small and medium-sized businesses across the North of England.
FW Capital’s investment executive Maria Ramsdale led the deal, supported by senior investment executive Andy Traynor.
It was introduced to the company by Janet Addison from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
Other NPIF investments to support Cumbria businesses include the £40,000 microfinance loan to Barrow-in-Furness-based NC Training in October 2017 and the £600,000 equity deal with Kendal-based mobile solutions firm Coeus Software, completed in March.
NPIF provides microloans, debt and equity investments, ranging from £25,000 to £2m to help small businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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