September 13 2019 @ 14:44 by Steven Hugill
A family-owned horse feed supplier is looking to strengthen its market position after securing financial support to bolster manufacturing operations.
Equibalancer is using a £15,000 investment to help convert a stable block into a new production base and buy new equipment to increase capacity.
The company, based on the outskirts of Wolviston at Warren Farm Stables, near Billingham, is also planning to launch four new products before the end of the year and expand its retail network.
The business secured its investment through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, with the finance coming from the North East Small Loan Fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
“We’ve only really been focusing on building the business seriously for the last couple of years and the success we’ve had so far has encouraged us to now step things up,” said founder Tammy Britton, who, as an experienced equestrian competitor, began making supplements for her horses 15 years ago.
“It takes around 18 months of research, development and testing to bring a new product to market and we remain fully committed to using only the best ingredients and no unnecessary fillers.
“We want to now bring the business into the mainstream and to be recognised as one of the leading brands within the equine sector.
“The new manufacturing facility and equipment are absolutely crucial to our development plans.
“Showing potential new stockists what we’re all about face-to-face is the best way to get the message across about the quality of our products.
“The NEL investment team was really easy to deal with, and the process of bringing in the investment was really straightforward.”
Tammie added Equibalancer, which also has an office in Sedgefield, County Durham, is investing around £50,000 in total to carry out business improvements.
Speaking about its support for Equibalancer, Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Equibalancer is already very well regarded within the equine world and the team has taken positive steps towards building on their achievements so far.”
Part of the £120 million North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the £9 million North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses across Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
Bosses say 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.
The overarching 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.
NEL is also responsible for investing the £18 million North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.