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Profile Spring 2009 Newsletter

Assessment company gets top marks with SYIF

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Assessment21 has developed revolutionary software to mark exam papers electronically.

A ground-breaking assessment company has received top marks from South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

Assessment21, based in Arundel Street, Sheffield, has developed revolutionary software technology designed to mark exam papers electronically.

Originally developed in response to the University of Manchester’s need to reduce the costs of setting, administering and marking traditional paper exams, Assessment21 tests students online and is capable of assessing a variety of question types such as multiple choice, written responses, diagrams and mathematical answers.

SYIF has helped Assessment21 develop and expand its business by providing seedcorn investments totalling £150,000 to the company.

Gerard Lennox, director of Assessment21, said: “Our innovative software allows a range of exam papers to be marked electronically. In comparison to paper marking, this increases consistency and accuracy in results, as well as providing significant cost savings to academic institutions.”

Assessment21, a spin-out company from the University of Manchester, relocated to Sheffield after hearing about SYIF and the funding opportunities available in the region.

Gerard added: “We were attracted to the funding opportunities available in South Yorkshire as well as the good transport and communication links between Sheffield and Manchester.  All of our management team live on the train line between the two cities, so we can be at the Sheffield office or the University in less than two hours – it’s ideal.

“SYIF’s investments have really helped the business to grow. Their funding has given us a real boost and assisted us in taking our products to market.

“Our software is now being used in educational institutions around the country and we’ve had substantial interest from the USA. We are very grateful for the generosity and the assistance we’ve received from SYIF in getting us to this point.”

Tony Goulbourn, chief executive at SYIF, says: “This is a great example of South Yorkshire attracting forward-thinking businesses. Assessment21 is a very exciting concept that has the potential to revolutionise the academic marking system. We’re delighted to have played a part in bringing such innovation to the region.

“We wish Assessment21 the best of luck for the future and we look forward to seeing their products appear in more and more schools and universities around the world.”

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).