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Innovative medical company gets seal of approval

Published: 13th April 2004

Autono-Med secures £50K for new marketing strategy

Autono-Med Ltd, an innovative medical products group, has received a £50,000 unsecured loan from South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

The Barnsley-based company was established by Managing Director David Watt to supply a range of medical products from manufacturers in the US and the UK. It sells a range of medical aids from cast and bandage covers to compression supports.

Mr Watt said: "Autono-Med was set up as a medical supplier which would positively affect the everyday lifestyle of our clients. We are committed to improving the lifestyle of those people for whom ‘normal living’ is a challenge."

Based at the Athersley Business Park in Barnsley, Autono-Med recently secured approval as a supplier to the NHS. It has signed agreements and entered a minimum period three year contract to supply its Seal-Tight cast and bandage protector to all NHS Hospitals and Trusts in England, via NHS Logistics.

The Seal-Tight is a cast and bandage protector which allows the wearer to take a bath or shower whilst keeping the affected limb dry. The product is in much demand and will shortly be appearing on shelves in superstore group Sainsbury’s later this month.

The biggest challenge Autono-Med faces is the fact that four million potential users each year are generally unaware that there is a product that allows them to wash as normal. The investment from the Fund will enable the Autono-Med to invest in its marketing and PR and further grow sales.

Mr Watt said: "The investment from the Fund has helped us move more quickly in a number of key areas. Our new logistics and distribution facility at Athersley Business Centre was opened in February, and we have recruited an experienced Sales Director to address the retail market.

"We are confident that Autono-Med will quickly become the leader in a market where statistics show that 1 in every 15 people would have need for a Seal-Tight at some point each year."

Tony Goulbourn, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd, said: "Autono-Med’s management team have taken a long, hard look at their market place and quickly established a niche market position. At the Fund we are always keen to talk to fast-thinking, forward-looking companies like Autono-Med who can present a compelling investment proposition."

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 £6.5 million in 85 businesses.

SYIF 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.

It can also provide mezzanine loans up to £1.5 million and equity of up to £1 million which means it can finance deals of £2.5 million in total. These investments are to complement existing sources of finance and are intended to bridge any funding gap there may be in an expansion plan.

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 their business more profitably. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also run Capital Network a Business Angels introductory service for early stage businesses in South Yorkshire. Where appropriate Business Angel finance can also complement South Yorkshire Investment fund packages.

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.
http://www.finance-yorkshire.com

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).