Mike Guellard (centre) of NEL Fund Managers with Matthew Rodgers of Steelcraft (right).
Rebecca Wayman

Small Loan Fund investment seals growth plans for North East steelwork firm

A County Durham engineering firm which specialises in fashioning ornate steelwork is aiming to take its turnover past the £2m mark.

It aims to do so with investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

Steelcraft designs, manufactures and installs architectural metalwork, including balconies, balustrades, stainless and secondary steelwork.

The Chester-le-Street-based firm is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year by embarking on an online/offline business development drive, aiming to help it win new clients both at home and overseas.

Matthew Rodgers, managing director at Steelcraft, said: “While we can fulfil most aspects of steelwork design and fabrication, we have an especially strong reputation in catering for uncommon shapes and unusual designs, and we’re now looking to build on this with new clients and in new markets.

“The Digital Drive County Durham programme gave us a lot of insights into how we use digital technologies to support our expansion plans which we’re now building on with our enhanced online presence.

“We’re confident of making significant commercial progress through the year to come and beyond, and hope to see both our turnover and our team growing this year.

“The Small Loan Fund provided the right type of accessible option for us, and the practical advice we got while working through the investment process with the NEL team was highly valuable.”

Steelcraft secured the £50k Small Loan Fund investment through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers as part of funding its expansion plans, which include increasing its turnover from £1.8m to over £2m by 2020.

Having initially focused on manufacturing and installing bespoke security metalwork for clients across the North East, Steelcraft gradually widened its product portfolio and client base over the years and now employs a 24-strong team at its headquarters on the Drum Industrial Estate.

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10k and £50k to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Steelcraft has an enviable track record in a highly specialised niche market and is now beginning to execute growth plans that will see it achieve even more.”

The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

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