A Doncaster-based entrepreneur, who secured a significant contract to deliver ground-breaking research into laser technology and its use in the energy industry, has secured a six-figure cash injection from alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise.
Experienced engineer Peter Brown launched Rossington-based Laser Additive Solutions in 2014 to help businesses embrace new manufacturing techniques, and since then, the company has specialised in delivering a wide range of projects on behalf of the aerospace, energy and transport sectors, where it counts blue-chip organisations and SME businesses amongst its growing client base.
Last autumn, the company was appointed as the lead member of a research and development consortium to investigate how innovative laser technology could be harnessed within the nuclear industry, helping to minimise risk and present cost savings during the construction of nuclear power stations.
Recognising the new project would require a significant investment in raw materials, as well as needing to build a special facility within the company’s headquarters to house the equipment used during the research programme, and unsure how to access the vital funds needed to support its future growth plans, the company turned to Finance For Enterprise for help.
Using the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Investment Manager Ian Howson helped Laser Additive Solutions to secure £105,000 of loan funding, helping to cover a substantial portion of the funds needed to realise their plans.
Since securing the loan, Laser Additive Solutions has successfully built a new laser process cell, which will be used as part of its R&D programme, as well as welcoming two new staff members to its workforce. Having enjoyed a significant period of growth prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Peter is confident the support his business has received from Finance For Enterprise will not only help to continue delivering its unique research but lay the foundations to explore new market possibilities for the technology.
Peter Brown, Managing Director, Laser Additive Solutions said: “Our business is built around helping businesses to embrace 3D metal additive manufacturing, which allows components to be built using lasers to shape metals by building in layers. It’s a similar process to plastic 3D printing, but a much more precise process, something that’s vital to the aerospace and energy industries. Lasers are typically used in industry to remove materials, rather than to build. We’re working at the cutting edge in an emerging industry that presents some very exciting opportunities.
“However, as the sector we’re working in is a relatively new one, historically, this presented its own challenges when it came to raising the vital funds we needed to purchase the necessary equipment. When I launched the business, like many new business owners, I struggled to secure finance from traditional high street lenders, but Finance For Enterprise listened to my plans and were able to help. When the business needed additional financial support - a combined impact of Covid-19 as well as the need to purchase the vital raw materials, - I approached them again, and they helped us to secure the funds our business needed.
“My investment manager was very proactive throughout the application process. We received our funds within a matter of weeks, which helped us to put our plans into practice quickly. As a result of the investment we’ve received, we’ve been able to install a new facility in our workshop to support the demands of our research project as well as recruit additional members of staff to help us manage our workload more effectively.”
Paula Foreman, Operations Manager, Finance For Enterprise said: “It’s been terrific to see how Peter’s business has evolved and grown since we first helped Laser Additive Solutions launched back in 2014. Today, the company has established an excellent reputation in its industry and has forged a diverse client-base, which illustrates the potential offered by their pioneering work.
“Despite the clear success Laser Additive Solutions has enjoyed in recent years, Peter was acutely aware that the additional demand for raw materials and new equipment would place pressure on his cashflow, potentially stunting his future growth plans, so he reached out for advice.
“We discussed a number of different lending options and presented a detailed business plan outlining the significant potential offered by his future growth plans. Since helping him to secure the funds, Peter has been able to put his plans into practice, helping to create new skilled jobs in an emerging sector, as well as helping him to continue to innovate and diversify his business.”
Today, Laser Additive Solutions employs five full-time members of staff and counts Siemens, Rolls Royce and Strathclyde University amongst its growing client base. The SonicSMR project is a 12-month collaborative R&D project funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and aims to address the challenges posed by using metal additive manufacturing in the nuclear industry. Consortium partners include the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear AMRC, Brunel Innovation Centre, IVY-TECH and Taraz Metrology.
Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans up to £250,000, aimed at supporting SMEs throughout Yorkshire and the North Midlands. The company is a delivery partner for the British Business Bank-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and acts as fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Start Up Loans UK.