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SYIF Tunes in to Sheffield Signal Specialists

Published: 20th March 2008

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Andrew Marsh of Barclays, Paul Blake, managing director of Blake UK and SYIF’s Karl Hodson

South Yorkshire Investment Fund got a great reception when they provided a TV signal specialist with a £50,000 loan to support a change of overseas supplier ahead of the digital switchover.

Blake UK Limited is the biggest supplier of television aerials in the UK and has added a Far East supplier to compliment its existing manufacturing facilities to cope with the expected surge in demand for its products as analogue aerials begin to be phased out from this year.

The company, based on Rutland Road, Sheffield, has moved its production operations from Bulgaria because of the Far East-based manufacturers’ ability to mass produce at a reasonable rate while maintaining the quality of product for which Blake UK is renowned.

Paul Blake, Managing Director of Blake UK, said: "In simple terms, we had to keep up with our market and prepare for the industry changes that are happening in the next four years.

"Our competitors were outsourcing to Asia as Europe became less competitive and our sales were dropping each month as a result. But chiefly the level of operations in the Far East means we maintain the quality of our products, and that will become even more crucial in the coming years.

"The money from the South Yorkshire Investment Fund has allowed us to begin our relationship with the best Far Eastern supplier and extend the range of products we manufacture within the Sheffield site.

"We have reduced costs and as a result are selling more quality units at a better rate for consumers in South Yorkshire and the rest of the UK."

Blake UK has specialised in the design, manufacture and supply of television aerials for local consumption since 1971. It has since developed into the leading UK-based manufacturer of antennas and installation equipment for TV, radio and satellite broadcast reception and radio communications.

The company, which employs 60 people, changed its name from Blake Aerials Limited in 2002 in recognition of a more varied product range and the increasing export market. It now also owns subsidiary PROception Limited, which was formed in 2004 to supply electronic boosters and signal distribution products to its range.

In 2008, it enjoys the status of the UK’s leading supplier of Digital UK-approved products with the capacity to ease consumers in South Yorkshire through the digital switchover.

Blake UK were introduced to SYIF by Andrew Marsh from Barclays Bank, who have also provided additional funding to the company.

Karl Hodson, SYIF’s Investment Director, said: "Blake UK is a perfect example of a company moving with the times and we are delighted to help it regain its strong position in the market."

SYIF can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

For more information about South Yorkshire Investment Fund, please visit www.syif.com or ring 01709 386377.

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).