Light up North
Dave Freeney and Emma Krause of Light Up North with Sarah Thorpe of UK Steel Enterprise and production assistant, Heidi Knights.
Rebecca Wayman

Creative startup in Saltburn moves into new premises with UK Steel Enterprise loan

A Saltburn-based creative business, whose artworks are lighting up homes and venues around the world, has settled into new premises with the help of a second business loan from UK Steel Enterprise.

Light Up North - set up by business partners, Emma Krause and Dave Freeney - now occupies the whole top floor of the LillianDaph store in Saltburn.

Light Up North uses electroluminescent neon wire technology to create unique artworks that are sought by individual and commercial buyers for their homes, hotels, night clubs, business premises, shops and advertising boards.

The commissioned designs range from animals to mermaids, personal messages and slogans. The artworks are created on Perspex or rolled steel in a range of fonts, finishes and colours.

With a £3,500 loan from UK Steel Enterprise’s Regeneration Fund, the business has been able to take on the space needed for its two part-time staff and apprentice, provide three workshops and a new gallery and bring its framing process in-house.

Ellie Dixon from Redcar has made such a success of her apprenticeship that Light Up North is looking to take on another apprentice in the near future.

Emma Krause said: “Last year UK Steel Enterprise helped us with a £5,000 loan, enabling us to develop our ideas, skills and products.

“Having started out on a table then progressed to my garage and Dave’s workshop, we now have the premises we need with everything under one roof to operate more efficiently and grow the business.

“We feel lucky that we were already linked in to UK Steel Enterprise. They have been very supportive and we were able to go back to them for this further boost which has been a very straightforward process.”

Light Up North is benefitting from a recent DTI trade mission to Paris, is starting to build a market in the United States after initial sales and seeing sales in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain.

Along with new outlets in the UK, including Manchester, a growing profile on social media and a new website, the business is also about to list on notonthehighstreet.com, continuing to attract attention from bloggers and national magazines.

Sarah Thorpe, of UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, added: “Our Regeneration Fund supports growing businesses with the amounts of finance needed to help provide premises, equipment or support with cash flow in the early stages.

“The loans, at fixed interest rates repayable over three years, can make all the difference and help a business to grow at a crucial time.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Emma and Dave and seeing Light Up North expand, move into these new premises and create jobs.”

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