FILM company Dene Group is set to centralise its North East workforce in Newcastle and take on more staff after winning nearly £800,000 in funding.
The award-winning company has collected £500,000 from FW Capital’s Growth Plus Fund, along with £150,000 from the Growth Fund managed by NEL Fund Managers. One North East’s Grant for Business Investment has brought in £100,000, while RBS has invested £45,000.
The £795,000 injection will allow Dene to sign a lease on space at Ouesburn’s Stepney Bank in the next week, while it will also snap up both HD and 3D editing equipment and boost its workforce.
Founder Steve Salam said: “We’ve pulled a few things together simultaneously and we’re really excited about what’s going to happen next.
“The new office will allow us to get everyone under one roof, so the animation team can be on the same floor as the editing team.
“We’re also going to re-equip our editing suites, with eight HD editing workstations and some 3D editing technology.
“We’ll also use the money as working capital as we’re taking a new sales strategy forward and we’re going to build a team of people to drive new business through the company.”
The Dene Group includes Dene Films, Qurios Animation, Metropolis Pictures, Imagine post production and IPTV development company Riff Raff. It has produced almost 5,000 commercials, corporate films and broadcast TV programmes, including commercials for Sunderland furniture seller ScS, a long-term project with Clydesdale Bank and an upcoming 3D historical recreation of the Vindolanda of AD200.
Salam aims to expand the workforce in the next few years, but the group has already outgrown its Newcastle outposts in Westgate Road and Westmoreland Road.
He said: “We have over 30 staff in the organisation now and when we moved into Westmoreland Road we were only at about 13 or 14.
“We’re hoping to expand the business to about 50 staff in the next three years. We’ll be expanding all of our departments including TV production and animation.
“We’ve had some success with broadcast TV and we’re hoping to hire some staff to develop our broadcast TV output. It’s really all about growth.”
NEL Fund Managers investment executive Jane Siddle said Dene “has built an outstanding reputation in an extremely competitive sector and has the management expertise in place to successfully execute its ambitious business expansion plans”.
FW Capital’s senior investment executive Joanne Pratt added: “FW Capital is delighted to invest in the Dene Group to enable it to leverage the right level of capital to achieve its expansion plans. Dene has grown substantially in recent years and FW Capital’s investment will improve its capitalisation as it continues to expand.”
Watson Burton, Hay and Kilner, Dickinson Dees and Sherpa Business Consultancy were advisers on the deal.