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Innovative Sheffield firm looks forward to bright future

Published: 23rd February 2004

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From left Company Director David Squire of Desq Ltd, SYIF Investment Manager John Sarrington who led the deal and Debs Mills, Business Development Co-ordinator of Desq Ltd.

DESQ Ltd receives £50k investment to develop new marketing strategy.

A Sheffield company, which started as a one-man band and now employs 20 people, has been boosted by a £50K investment from SYIF.

DESQ Ltd, formed in 1998, creates a variety of engaging learning materials and educational games for CD, the web, virtual learning environments and print, for a wide range of audiences. It boasts clients such as Channel 4, the BBC, Ufi learndirect, the British Council and National Learning Network.

Situated in The Workstation, the company produces learning materials, which cover a wide range of subjects, including numeracy, literacy, Key Skills, ICT and other vocational and academic curricula.

This latest investment will help DESQ develop the marketing of the company, with the aim of improving the number and range of clients. This will promote the company in the UK and overseas and allocates a focused resource in the company for research and product development.

David Squire, Company Director of DESQ, said: "The company has developed from a one man show to a 20 strong team. The investment from South Yorkshire Investment Fund and the £5,000 that we have invested ourselves, has enabled us to recruit someone to coordinate our marketing, develop our marketing strategy and make people more aware of who we are and what we do".

DESQ has also signed up to the Fund's Mentorbank project, which provides subsidised mentoring support to help management teams grow their business more profitably.

Mr Squire added: "We intend to take full advantage of the SYIF's mentoring scheme and feel sure this will also help take the company forward."

Tony Goulbourn, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd said: "We are delighted to help DESQ Ltd. They have a very bright future and this loan will help them reach their full potential."

The Fund provides loans and equity investments ranging from £15k to £2.5m to businesses in, or prepared to relocate to, South Yorkshire. The Fund has already invested over £5.5 million in 82 businesses.

It offers two key products, one of which is loans ranging from £15k to £150k with effective annual interest rates from as little as 2.4% per annum. Loans are unsecured for the majority of established profitable businesses with unsecured loans of up to £50k available for start-ups or early stage businesses.

The second product is an equity-linked package of a loan with equity options or equity investment, ranging from £50k to £2.5m where the Fund may take a minority shareholding in the business.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also run Capital Network a Business Angels introductory service for early stage businesses in South Yorkshire.

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).