October 5, 2020 @ 10:15 by Steven Hugill
A Finnish sauna designer and maker is pushing ahead with job expansion plans after securing £50,000 backing.
Finnmark Sauna hopes to create as many as 15 new posts following support from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Bosses at the company, based in Spennymoor, County Durham, say the cash will also complement work around potentially milling its own raw materials to reduce costs while maintaining quality.
The business is run by brothers Jake and Max Newport, who founded it four years ago with a view to help educate users on how to build and properly use a Finnish sauna.
Having built annual turnover to around £1 million, the duo say they are now ready to take the company to its next level.
“The saunas that most of us have experienced at a gym or swimming pool are a million miles from the authentic Finnish sauna experience that we deliver, and we’ve spent the last four years building an understanding of what this actually entails,” said Jake [pictured on the right].
“Many of our customers have used them on their travels and they want to be able to replicate the same experience at home.
“We are one of the very few UK firms that has the knowledge and experience required to supply that.
“We’ve found there’s been a real enthusiasm for the quality products that we’re providing and we’re confident that there are many more opportunities out there for us to build on the foundations we’ve laid.
“We had a lot of personal contact with the NEL team around our development plans and the insight they provided helped us enhance our business plan as the application process progressed.”
Part of the £120 million North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9 million North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It is designed to assist with the creation of more than 1200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Finnmark has already carved out a significant niche for its high-quality products and the ideas they put forward for the next stage of their development made a very compelling investment case.”
Officials say the overarching £120 million North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80 million for further investment into the region.