A Wearside signage and graphics firm is making space to expand its operations with the help a new five-figure investment.
The overarching £120m North East Small Loan Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Funds will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses in the region, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment.
Radecal Signs is turning a 4,000 sq ft area of land alongside its premises on the Armstrong Industrial Estate in Washington into a secure area in which it can store all the materials it needs to manufacture the street signs, fascias, building signs and vehicle signage it produces.
Radecal has worked with regional fund management at NEL Fund Managers to secure the investment to support the project, which it expects will help it increase production efficiency, reduce costs and enhance its profitability.
Planning permission has been secured for the project and the Radecal management team expects to complete work on the new space before the end of the year.
Neil Clasper, senior business investment officer at Sunderland City Council’s business investment team, has advised Radecal Signs for more than a decade and recommended NEL Fund Managers as a suitable source of investment capital for the firm.
Radecal Signs was founded in 2002 by managing director Greg Economides and his late brother Chris in a business unit owned by a friend and began life by providing graphics for ‘boy racer’ cars.
The business won an initial project from Sunderland City Council in 2004 which eventually led on to it manage the graphics requirements of a fleet of 500 vehicles, which also helped it extend the range of products and services it could offer.
In 2008, the growing business bought and moved into the 6,000 sq ft premises in which it is still based and where its 13-strong team looks after the signage needs of a range of public and private sector clients across the north of England and in Scotland.
Greg Economides says: “We bought the land at the same time as the main building and haven’t used it up to this point, but having looked at the benefits of having our own secure storage area right next door, it made sense to move these plans forward.
“Having the materials that we know we need right at hand means we’ll be able to prepare more thoroughly for what we know we’re going to need and then process orders more quickly, which will in turn help us increase our profitability and reduce our costs.
“Neil Clasper’s support has been pivotal in helping the business develop and succeed over the years and his recommendation that we speak to NEL about our growth plans turned out to be another good piece of advice.
“The NEL investment team were very thorough and supportive in helping us get our application over the line and gave us lots of useful information along the way.”
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. NEL Fund Managers is actively looking for potential investees from Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland to put their investment ideas forward.
Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Radecal Signs has built an excellent market reputation on the back of its long-term relationships with a range of well-known clients and the management team is taking a far-sighted approach to how it can continue to grow and succeed.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Graeme Miller, says: “Businesses like Radecal, who are creative, hardworking and resilient, are so important to the local and regional economy.
“I’m really pleased Radecal have been able to secure the funding which will help underpin their new investment and support the next stage of their growth plans.”