October 30, 2019 @ 13:50 by Steven Hugill
A County Durham entrepreneur behind a growing tool-making business is pressing ahead with job creation plans after securing a five-figure investment.
Antony Gray aims to expand his Renovo Solutions venture following £50,000 backing from the North East Small Loan Fund.
Antony said the support will allow the business to create jobs and bring in new equipment capable of growing the range of tools it can make, repair or renew.
He added it will also allow the company – which Antony says is the only CNC-equipped rotary tool maker in the North of England – to bolster its presence as a sub-contractor and explore expansion into sectors such as the aerospace, medical and energy industries.
“We are the only business of our kind in the whole of the North, and the growth we’ve already enjoyed is a good indicator of the demand out there,” said Antony, who founded Renovo – based on Tanfield Lea Industrial Estate, near Stanley – last year after rising from apprentice to operations director at his previous employer.
“The equipment we’re bringing in significantly improves our manufacturing capacity and allows us to take on more and bigger contracts.
“There’s a big gap in the North East market to fill, which is why we’re concentrating on the region in the first instance.
“However, there’s no reason why our services can’t eventually be rolled out into other parts of the country,” said Antony, who worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to obtain the finance.
“NEL were recommended to us, the investment package was exactly right for us and the team gave us every possible support towards getting the deal done,” he added.
Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Renovo is already establishing an impressive reputation in a market where’s there every chance for it to grow quickly, and allying our investment with Antony’s specialist knowledge makes for a powerful combination.”
Part of the £120 million North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9 million North East Small Loan Fund – which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund – typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It was founded to support the creation of more than 1200 new regional jobs across hundreds of SMEs.