Home > News & Events > May 2003 > News Article

Fund Boosts Innovative On-Line Game Centre

Published: 15th May 2003

From front to back; Andrew Chaffer, Investment Manager who led the deal with Directors of The Frag Café; David Sorrill, John Wright and Ken Crowe.

The game’s not up for a Sheffield company as South Yorkshire Investment Fund provides them with a £50,000 loan - helping disaffected youngsters to develop their communication and IT skills.

KnowGames Ltd trading as The Frag Café, a computer games playing centre used the cash to secure new premises. Based in Orange Street, The Frag Café provides on-line gaming for both educational and recreational use offering the latest in multi player games.

The company’s unique educational service provides an alternative curriculum provision for disengaged and non-attending school students aged 13 to 16.

In addition to the Fund’s loan the company received £40,000 from a High Street Bank under the Government’s Loan Guarantee Scheme and £10,000 from directors Ken Crow, John Wright and David Sorrill.

Jeff Sorrill, General Manager at The Frag Café, said: "Without the financial support of South Yorkshire Investment Fund, Knowgames Ltd would not have been able to provide a gateway to the computer games playing community for disengaged and non-attending school students or the public.

"Computer hardware and software is an important part of the service we provide and the SYIF money has enabled us to get the high specification machines we needed and to stay up-to-date with the rapidly moving games title software.

"The investment has also aided the recruiting of highly skilled and capable staff for what can be a very testing environment."

Key advisors to KnowGames included Mick Warwick of Knowles Warwick Chartered Accountants and Graham Roberts of Roberts Associates.

Tony Goulbourn, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd, said: "KnowGames provides an excellent service to its customers, in particular its education product is both innovative and worthy in its aim to help disaffected students develop team work, communications and IT skills. We are delighted to play our part."

The Fund provides development and risk capital ranging from £15k to £1m to businesses in, or prepared to relocate to, South Yorkshire.

It offers two key products, one of which is loans ranging from £15k to £150k with effective annual interest rates from as little as 3% per annum.

The second product is an equity-linked package, ranging from £50k to £1m where the Fund takes a minority stake in the business.

The equity-linked package, with its competitive fees, is designed for new or existing businesses with potential for rapid expansion. Investments can be made as a mix of ordinary and preference shares or subordinated loan stock.

A unique feature of the way the Fund can help businesses is the Mentorbank project, which provides subsidised mentoring support to help management teams grow the business more profitably.

The Fund’s products are designed to support businesses through critical stages of growth. From start through to major expansion, the fund will provide financial support. If a business is looking to start up, invest in new technology or equipment, enter new markets or locate into South Yorkshire it should call South Yorkshire Investment Fund first.

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).