Sustainable technology developed by a North East entrepreneur is set to gain ground nationwide with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.
Andy Gabel, founder of the UK’s leading professional ground screw installation firm Groundscrews4U limited (GS4U), has developed a bespoke system of ground screw foundations for use in the holiday park and leisure sector.
The new system allows customers to secure holiday lodges structurally and safely in place without pouring tonnes of concrete into the ground to make foundations, thus making installation quicker, easier and with less impact on the local environment.
Gateshead-based GS4U launched the new STAYGROUNDED® system at the Great Holiday Home Show in Harrogate in September and has already had significant interest from some of the holiday park industry’s biggest names, with a number of new projects already lined up to start in the new year.
The firm has now worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £50,000 investment, which will support its presence at forthcoming leisure industry trade shows and contribute to the new system’s wider marketing campaign.
GS4U is expecting to double its current eight-strong team of installers over the next 12 months on the back of forecast customer demand for the STAYGROUNDED® system.
The new system will sit alongside the company’s installation of professional ground screws which are suitable for both domestic and commercial use on structures including garden rooms, home offices, modular classrooms and home annexes.
Andy Gabel introduced ground screws to the UK more than a decade ago after setting up the business and becoming the lead installation partner for a worldwide Swedish ground screw company, and he has since built a network of clients right across throughout the UK.
Andy says: “Ground screws offer a faster and cleaner solution for solid foundations for all types of timber and lightweight structures than traditional concrete foundations.
“Alongside this, they typically have a 60 per cent lower environmental impact, which is especially important to businesses working towards carbon neutral status.
“When the opportunity arose to move into the holiday park industry, we spent many months designing, testing and refining a system that we know is precisely fit for purpose, and that will also prevent tens of thousands of tonnes of concrete being poured into the ground every year.
“Our STAYGROUNDED® launch generated a huge amount of enthusiasm among many of the industry’s biggest names, and as it’s simple to use and put in place, we’ll be able to quickly train up new installers to meet the high levels of market demand that we’re expecting.
“It’s the only system of its type available in the UK, has been accredited by all the key trade bodies in the holiday park and leisure sector, and is fully insurance-backed so having brought in this investment from NEL, we’re now ready to realise its full potential.
“Being able to access capital from within the North East was important to us, as was being able to meet the team offering it, and we were made to feel very at ease and reassured right through the investment process.”
Jonathan Armitage, Investment Executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Andy and his team have applied unrivalled specialist knowledge to a particular market to develop a bespoke system that will provide substantial efficiency and environmental benefits to customers.”
Part of the £130m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of up to £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 £130m 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.
NEL Fund Managers is also responsible for managing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.