A North East technology firm is looking for more sweet deals with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.
Sugarcoat provides customized, cloud-hosted e-commerce solutions to a range of digital agencies and SMEs across the UK and Ireland which enable them to sell their products and services to customers around the world.
The Newcastle-based business is using the £50,000 Small Loan Fund investment, which was obtained through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, to support a number of enhancements to its digital infrastructure and to increase its sales and marketing activities.
Up to ten new jobs are expected to be created in the coming years as the business expands, while a new director has recently joined the firm to support the implementation of its growth strategy.
Sugarcoat also provides services relating to content management, hosting and payment solutions, and has previously secured a £25,000 investment from Creative UK in support of its growth plans.
It has a particularly strong presence in the retail sector, with clients including Lanchester Wines, Vintrigue and wholesale retailer Cottonprint, and is looking to diversify into new markets at home and overseas as part of its development.
The Sugarcoat management team was introduced to NEL by their non-executive director, digital entrepreneur Vic Morgan.
Founder and managing director Rob Mitchell, says: “Unless they have a huge budget, businesses tend to get an ‘out of the box’ solution to their e-commerce needs which pays little attention to their particular priorities or needs.
“Sugarcoat was set up to take a different approach, which recognises the impact that these technologies can have on SMEs’ operations when they’re tailored in ways that drive and enhance commercial success.
“The results that we’re helping to secure for our existing customers shows the effectiveness of this approach, and we’re now ready to take our operations to the next level.
“Building a bigger team will enable us to capitalise on the opportunities that we know are out there, both in market sectors where we’re well established and other into which we want to move, and we’re confident that we have everything we need in place to grow quickly over the next year.
“NEL’s investment offering fit well with our requirements and the team was very supportive in helping us work through the application process.”
Mike Guellard, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Rob and his team have a clear handle on how growing SMEs can make the most of bespoke e-commerce technologies, and a robust strategy for using this knowledge to expand their operations.”
Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m 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 over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.