7th June 2016

Funding for new equipment boosts company’s competitive edge

Let’s Grow Regional Growth Fund funding for new equipment has allowed Washington-based Intelligent Packaging Solutions to expand to the next level.

The business, which provides innovative bespoke packaging for Customers in the food sector, received a £90,000 grant in November 2014 to kit out its premises with a Thermoforming machine and tooling equipment.

The equipment means Intelligent Packaging Solutions has been able to become more competitive in its key markets, producing and decorating yoghurt cups, porridge pots and ice cream containers on site for customers across the UK. It also has a small export business, selling into Ireland, France and Australia.

Intelligent Packaging Solutions North East financial controller, Scott Little, said: “The Thermoforming machine has made all the difference.

“It makes round cups, which we were previously buying from competitors to decorate and sell on to our customers.

“Following the investment we no longer depend on competitors for the supply of cups. This now gives Intelligent Packaging Solutions a competitive advantage, adding further value to our customers.”

The success of the company since introducing the new equipment means it has also been able to develop its Washington facilities. It has taken on an additional unit and is moving the Gateshead workforce to Washington, where a new innovation centre has been created to showcase packaging solutions to clients from the design stage to the final product.

It is now going through the due diligence process for a second round of Let’s Grow funding to help finance further expansion. IPS’s bid for £187,000 for two additional new machines has been accepted and once installed, the equipment will add a further 13 jobs to the 100-plus workforce.

Mr Little said: “We are growing and Washington is going to be a key site for us.

“Having access to the Let’s Grow funding has provided a stronger foundation stone for our business. Giving the company a clear future strategy and a one stop shop for our customer base.”

Let’s Grow, which is administered by the BE Group in partnership with UNW and The Journal and Evening Gazette, supports SME growth and job creation in the North East. Aimed towards manufacturing businesses and service sector businesses, grants are available to businesses of all sizes, with higher levels of support available to SMEs.

Neville Bearpark, UNW corporate finance partner, said: “IPS is a fantastic example of how the right kind of financial support can really give a company a competitive edge.

“The business is growing, creating new jobs within the region and expanding its site to meet the extra demand. It’s great that Let’s Grow has been able to play such a key role in helping the company achieve this.”

Andrew Frost, project adviser at BE Group, added: “IPS demonstrates brilliantly what can happen when a strong management team which thinks strategically is also matched with the right type of funding. We look forward to seeing the company continue its excellent growth.”

UNW was instrumental in setting up the Let’s Grow Fund in 2013 and since then has continued to provide corporate finance support and appraisal of all Let’s Grow applicants. For more information on the Fund, please call 0191 389 8434 or email letsgrow@be-group.co.uk.

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