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Profile Autumn 2007 Newsletter

Business Solutions Boom for Sheffield Company

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(left to right): Andrew Vernon Managing Director at Epitomy Solutions and Jane Siddle from SYIF.

A top Sheffield business solutions company is set to expand its market leading product range with a loan from South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

Epitomy Solutions Ltd has used the £50,000 loan, part of an overall £170,000 funding package, to develop its already strong product range - which provides specialist aftermarket service solutions to the capital goods industries, including online parts catalogues and ordering systems.

Following the company's success in a number of sectors of the capital goods market, the company needed to expand the core business to exploit opportunities further down the value chain and create additional sales channels.

The company, which is based in Sheffield's green southern suburbs, has a client base which includes familiar big names such as Optare Bus, Hayter and Mercury Marine in the bus & coach, ground-care machinery and marine engine sectors.

Andrew Vernon, Managing Director at Epitomy, said: "In its sixth year of trading, Epitomy faced the usual ups and downs encountered by many new start ups. The downs generally involve finance, most usually cash flow in the early days.

"The nature of the finance issue has changed as the business has matured. This is where SYIF has helped us. The loan allowed us to put together a range of finance options which are helping us invest for future growth.

"Growing a company isn't just about sales, it's about gearing too. This was a time when we didn't necessarily want to raise finance through equity and were looking for other options.

"The SYIF loan is accompanied by an offer of matched funding which can be used for mentoring purposes. We have found this aspect of the funding truly valuable.

"We have been working with a mentor to review the nature of our product offer and I think the outcome will be quite radical for us with much greater emphasis on how our offer can appeal to different users groups within the product support supply chain."

As part of SYIF's involvement with Epitomy, they have appointed a business mentor, to help the company develop its business strategy and refine management practices.

"The process has resulted in us identifying a range of really innovative new features, a real bonus," added Andrew.

Epitomy's mentor, John Stephenson, provides an invaluable range of skills from his wealth of senior management experience in companies like Land Rover, Massey Fergusson and Caterpillar Logistics, precisely the type of companies that Epitomy is targeting.

Other organisations involved in the finance deal are Business Link South Yorkshire, Connect Yorkshire and National Westminster Bank Plc.

Jane Siddle, Investment Manager at SYIF, said: "Epitomy is a modern, forward-thinking company that is keen to grow and keep on growing. We are really pleased to be able to help such an organisation."

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).