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04-05-2016 - Fuchsia - 0 comments

Growth Builder announces first cohort 

  •     48 businesses selected for growth programme designed by Government, universities, entrepreneurs and leading UK corporates
  •     Mumsnet, Biscuiteers, Touchnote, PayAsUGym, Express Microbiology and Yoyo Wallet amongst businesses selected onto the programme
  •     Businesses taking part have on average of 40 full time, permanent staff and hitting 4.5m revenue
  •     Business experts such as Dale Murray CBE and Simon Devonshire OBE join the growing list of programme ambassadors

Growth Builder, the business growth programme designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, has today announced the first cohort of 48 businesses selected to participate in the 12-month programme. The first of its kind to work with Government, universities, entrepreneurs and leading UK corporates, Growth Builder has been built specifically to help established British businesses that want to take on the next stage of growth.

The cohort consists of businesses from a range of sectors including Digital & Technology (32%), Professional Services (17%),  Construction (10%), Manufacturing (8%) and Wholesale & Retail trade (8%) with full time, permanent staff ranging between two and 232 (average number of FTEs is 40). On average the businesses taking part are hitting £4.5m revenue a year – and are looking to take on the next growth challenge.

Companies taking part were picked based on existing proven successes and their potential for further growth by a panel of esteemed industry experts, including David Chapman at the UCL School of Management; Paola Cuneo at UKTI; and Alistair Brew at Business Growth Fund. The panel was looking for businesses with either £1.5million revenue or 20 staff and which have grown by over 20% per year for the past two years.

The 48 businesses will enjoy unrivalled access to Government, university innovation, corporate expertise, investors and successful entrepreneurs, including programme ambassadors like Brent Hoberman (,, Founders Forum & Founders Factory), Sherry Coutu CBE (Founders4Schools), Sarah Wood (Unruly) and Ed Wray (Betfair). Dale Murray CBE (Sussex Place Ventures), Simon Devonshire OBE (Entrepreneur in residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Glen Calvert (Affectv), Brynne Herbert (MOVE Guides) and Neill Ricketts (Versarien plc) are the latest successful entrepreneurs to join the programme as ambassadors.

The programme has been designed by UCL, Natwest, UKTI, BT, PIE Mapping, Fast Growth Forum, the UK Business Angels Association and Loughborough University. This is the first time Government, entrepreneurs, universities and leading UK corporates have joined forces to help British growth businesses.

The programme kicks off on 4th May when the cohort will meet for the first workshop and networking drinks.

Ben Fletcher, chairman of Growth Builder, commented: “Since launching the Call for Applications in February, we’ve been delighted with the calibre and number of applications received. This programme was built because we believed there was a need to help already established businesses achieve their next level of growth – be that launching into a new sector, geography or attracting big contracts. On average applicants were already hitting revenues of £4.5m, backing our belief.”

“We’re looking forward to bringing together the first cohort with Government, universities, entrepreneurs and leading UK corporates at the first workshop on the 4th May.”

Sherry Coutu CBE, serial entrepreneur and investor, commented: "In my 2014 Scale-Up Report we identified a need to support rapidly expanding ‘scale-up’ companies to create a significant proportion of the UK’s economic growth; RBS analysis suggested an additional 238,000 jobs and £38 billion additional turnover is possible if we reverse the ‘scale up gap’. In this report I called for Government, entrepreneurs, educators, investors and large corporates to work together to support these businesses. With this in mind, it’s great to see the launch of an initiative like Growth Builder and I look forward to working with the 48 businesses over the coming 12 months and to celebrating every single job they create by fulfilling more and more customers orders from all over the world in coming years

350IP celebrates Investor of the Year title at energy awards

350 Investment Partners, which manages the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental, has been crowned Investor of the Year at a leading awards ceremony.

Cleantech venture investor 350IP was recognised in the ninth annual New Energy and Cleantech Awards which reward those playing a pivotal role in shaping the renewable energy, energy storage and cleantech industries.

The 350IP team is one of the most active cleantech investors in Europe. Since 2001 it has completed 32 investments in businesses which has raised over £310m in private sector funding.

Since 2009, 350IP has been delivering on its mandate by the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental to invest in early-stage, innovative and high-growth companies.

The North West Fund for Energy and Environmental is now fully invested at £20.6m. The North West Fund is provided jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Commenting on the award win, Adam Workman partner at 350IP said: “It is fantastic to be recognised on a national level as Investor of the Year as we have worked hard to successfully create a cluster of energy and environmental SMEs in the North West.

“We’ve invested in a real mix of companies spanning energy efficiency and LED lighting businesses, renewable generation installers, technology developers, circular economy businesses, energy switching and engineering businesses. This award really is testament to the hard work of the whole team and demonstrates our investment and sector expertise.”

350IP investee company ULEMCo, a company which converts vehicle engines to enable them to run on hydrogen, also reached the shortlist in New Energy Champion of the Year.

More than 200 leaders in the sector attended the event which was held at the Park Plaza Riverbank, London.

At the event, the Carbon Trust’s director of innovation, Andrew Lever praised the winners for their positive contribution to achieving climate change goals.

Until March 2015 350IP also advised the Carbon Trust  on its clean energy venture capital investment activities, advising on £40m of investment by the Carbon Trust leveraging £284m of private sector investments and successfully realising £17m up during this period.

Silverfleet backs MBO of precision aerospace components manufacturer 

Silverfleet Capital, the European private equity firm, has today announced its agreement to acquire a majority stake in the aerospace division of Avingtrans Plc (“Sigma Components” or “Sigma”), a UK precision engineering components manufacturer for the commercial aerospace sector.  Sigma is being bought for an enterprise value of £65.0 million and its existing management, led by its founding CEO, Mark Johnson will acquire a minority interest.  Completion of the transaction is subject to Avingtrans Plc shareholder approval and regulatory approvals from the German and Austrian competition authorities.

Sigma operates from four sites in the UK and two sites in China employing approximately 750 people and serves global aerospace customers including Rolls-Royce, Safran, Airbus, Bombardier and BAE Systems.  It has a team of over 40 engineers and has a strong track record of bringing new products to market.  

Over the last few years Sigma Components has successfully grown, both organically and by acquisition, to become an international leader in its chosen niche markets of aerospace pipes, ducts, fabrications and precision surface finishing.  Most recently in March 2016 Sigma bought pipe manufacturing sites in Nuneaton in the UK and Xi’an in China from Rolls-Royce, which are complementary to its existing pipe portfolio.

Debt financing for the transaction is to be provided by HSBC and Santander. Completion is expected to occur no later than the end of May 2016.

Mark Johnson, CEO of Sigma, commented: “We welcome the investment by Silverfleet as we believe they are an ideal partner to support Sigma in its next growth stage.  We have identified some exciting opportunities for broadening our manufacturing capabilities and developing our relationships with new and existing customers and look forward to taking the business to the next level.”

The transaction was led by David MacKenzie, Partner at Silverfleet Capital, who has responsibility for the UK manufacturing sector, and was supported by Sumit Dheir, Investment Executive, and Adam Ahern, Associate.  David MacKenzie commented:  “We are delighted to be partnering with Sigma, a market leader with excellent growth dynamics.  Silverfleet has a strong track record of investing in manufacturing businesses and we see an ideal opportunity to develop Sigma, which operates in a fragmented market place, both domestically and internationally.”

Silverfleet has been an active investor in the manufacturing sector.  It recently announced an agreement to sell Kalle, a German headquartered manufacturing business, which saw substantial growth during Silverfleet’s ownership.  Last month it also announced an investment in Coventya, a French headquartered specialty chemicals business.  Its current portfolio of manufacturing businesses also include Cimbria, one of the leading global manufacturers of seed and grain processing equipment and a camera systems and image processing manufacturer, Phase One.

Silverfleet was advised by KPMG (corporate finance), Macfarlanes (legal), Deloitte (financial and tax due diligence and tax structuring), Victanis and Peter Woolfrey (commercial due diligence), ERM (environmental due diligence) and Aon (insurance due diligence).

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