Christmas has come early for a Hull bakery which produces over a million festive cakes and puddings each year after calling on help from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance and Finance For Enterprise to secure the vital funds needed to expand its operations to new premises and double its workforce.

The £150,000 loan which included £75,000 from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and £75,000 invested directly by Finance For Enterprise was backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, has enabled Gold Crown Bakeries to relocate to a new 20,000 sqft facility, with the funding being used to create three new production lines and expand the company’s workforce from 14 employees to 28 members of staff.

Gold Crown Bakeries works exclusively within the wholesale market and counts luxury hamper producers Cartwright & Butler, Virginia Hayward Ltd and Clearwater Hampers amongst its client base. The company produces more than a million Christmas-related products each year and during peak months of operations it produces more than 7,000 Christmas puddings a day.

After seeing orders boom in 2020 and with new premises identified, the company began exploring options to secure the funds to cover the purchase of additional equipment needs as well as being used to transform the former warehouse into a state-of-the art bakery.

For Gold Crown Bakeries, preparation for Christmas begins in January, with production ramped up from May onwards. With substantial orders to meet, the company recognised it only had a very small window of opportunity to relocate the business, meaning financial assistance needed to be secured quickly in order to meet its tight production timescales.

Working with investment manager Jeremy Meadowcroft, the company was able to secure the vital finance needed by the business, and creating a funding package which comprised of funding delivered by Finance For Enterprise and NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, of which Finance For Enterprise acts as joint fund manager.

With funding in place, renovation work on the premises began in March. Refurbishment works took nearly two months and production switched to the new facility on Dairycoates Industrial Estate last month. In total, the company lost just four days of production, and is now planning to use the additional capacity within the bakery to introduce a number of new lines.

Jonathan Battersby, bakery director, Gold Crown Bakeries said: “In recent years, Gold Crown Bakeries has been on a considerable growth journey. Turnover has risen from £800,000 in 2015 to more than £2.25 million during our last financial year, however we realised our factory was working close to capacity, with members of staff working around the clock in order to meet demand.

“We approached Andrew Craggs, a specialist finance broker at ECS Group and during our discussions they referred us to Finance For Enterprise. The support we received from NPIF & Finance For Enterprise was excellent. They kept us updated throughout the application process and with funding in place, we were able to begin production on 24th May, just two months since we began the process.

“The additional capacity in our new premises has meant we are able to increase the volumes of products created as well as investing time introducing new product ranges. As a direct result of the support we’ve received from Finance For Enterprise, I’m confident that we’re on course to enjoy a record year of growth, enabling us to double our workforce and create 14 new jobs in the business.”

Jeremy Meadowcroft, investment manager, Finance For Enterprise said: “The challenge facing Jonathan and his team was being able to successfully relocate the business to larger premises without impacting upon production. In a business where Christmas is thought about every day from the beginning of January it was important to put together a funding package quickly, enabling them to complete the move before they reached peak production times.

“After discussing Gold Crown bakeries needs with Andrew, I put together a bespoke lending package, helping the business to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. We often receive enquiries from third party intermediaries and wherever possible we try and help them to secure the financial support needed to overcome the challenges their clients are facing.

"For Gold Crown Bakeries, this meant a need to be able to access financial support quickly. We were able to approve the loan in just two weeks from the time of their application in March. The time between drawing down the loan and starting production was less than eight weeks, which is an incredible achievement, especially considering the business lost just four days of production time between closing the doors on their old bakery and the first Christmas puddings rolling off the production line in their new bakery. I’m looking forward to seeing how the business continues its impressive growth journey in the future.”

Melanie Ellyard at British Business Bank, said: “It is excellent to see a business like Gold Crown Bakeries receiving NPIF funding to finance growth into new facilities, as well as almost doubling its staff numbers, creating several new jobs in the Humber region. NPIF is here to support businesses at every stage of their journey with various funding options, so we are pleased to be a part of this.”

Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans up to £250,000, aimed at supporting SMEs throughout Yorkshire & Humber, Tees Valley 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.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.