An award-winning County Durham renewable energy consultancy is scaling up its operations after securing a second investment from the North East Fund.
Electek Solutions Limited (ESL) designs, specifies and installs electrical and mechanical renewable energy systems and solutions for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, with projects ranging from the simple installation of LED lighting right through to major industrial schemes.
It worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers in 2018 to bring in a £50,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund, which it used to renovate a previously-derelict 6,000 sq ft office and factory space in the Hobson Industrial Estate near Burnopfield.
Having completed work on its new premises and taken its workforce into double figures, the business has now teamed up with NEL again to secure a further £100,000 from the Small Loan Fund.
The new investment will be used to fund an expansion of Electek’s product range, both through its own innovations, such as its new energy monitoring system i-ON Energies®, and others it is working on with partner businesses.
It will also provide ESL with the resources needed to increase the size and number of projects it can take on through the further expansion of its growing team.
A new operations manager and commercial manager have been added to the senior team to enable directors Denise Gilligan and David Hutchinson to focus more on the business’s strategic development alongside Barry Gill of TIG Corporate Finance, who has worked with the business since the initial NEL investment and will continue to do so moving forward.
A project manager has also been recruited in Scotland to further increase the firm’s presence north of the border.
ESL, which retained the Consultancy Of The Year title at the 2020 North East Energy Efficiency Awards, works with clients right across the UK, from Cornwall up to Aberdeen and has also delivered projects overseas.
Its specialist teams carry out audits of clients’ existing energy usage, develop solutions which will reduce both their energy spend and carbon footprint, and then manages both the practical and financial aspects of putting these ideas in place.
It also provides energy monitoring systems which allow clients to remotely monitor their use of all utilities and identify areas in which improvements and savings can be made.
David Hutchinson says: “We’ve performed well since the first North East Fund investment came in and felt we’d reached the limit of what we could do with the resources we had available, so going back to NEL for a second investment seemed like a natural move.
“During the lockdown period we have continued working on a number of different design projects including assistance with the redesign and fit out of wards at an NHS hospital required due to Covid-19.
“Demand is continuing to grow for the commercial renewable energy solutions we supply and expanding our product range through both new designs of our own and partnerships with other suppliers will enable us to meet the needs of even more customers across the UK.
“We’ve had a good relationship with the NEL team and their confidence in the scale-up business plan we presented for the next stage of our development very much reflects our own.”
ESL is one of the first businesses to take advantage of the new maximum investment amount offered by the Small Loan Fund, which has been doubled by NEL from £50,000 in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting increased growth capital needs of many SMEs
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “ESL executed the first stage of their growth plans very impressively and cemented a very strong market position on which to base their expansion plans.
“Despite the challenging economic circumstances that we’re facing, many regional businesses will still have great ideas and business plans that they want to take and we increased the maximum investment value available from the Small Loan Fund to ensure enough capital is available to enable them to do so.”
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 North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 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.