Group Horizon receive further £120,000 investment to fuel expansion

Gateshead training providers have secured three portions of the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund

Jane Siddle of NEL flanked by Dan Elgie (left) and Peter Behan of Group Horizon
Jane Siddle of NEL flanked by Dan Elgie (left) and Peter Behan of Group Horizon

Training specialists Group Horizon has secured a third tranche of investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund.

The Gateshead-based firm, which works with vocational colleges, local authorities and a range of employers has received £120,000 — making it the first company to secure a hat-trick of Growth Fund investments.

The latest sum, delivered by NEL Fund Managers, will be used to continue the firm’s expansion plans, having already established outposts in Birmingham and Scotland over the last year.

Group Horizon supplies employer-led training programmes in association with further education providers, and has recently secured contracts in Hertfordshire, London and the North East.

Co-founder Peter Behan said: “The last year has seen us continue to make good progress against our business plan, and properly establishing ourselves in Scotland and Birmingham has taken us on to another level from which we’re confident we can do even more.

“The continuing emphasis on the training agenda, especially around apprenticeships, matches the services we offer extremely closely, and there’s a real sense of achievement for us in having helped hundreds of people around the country into employment over the past few years.

“We’re continuing to invest heavily in research and development so that the courses we develop are shaped precisely to meet client requirements, and because we offer standardised systems and services regardless of location, major name firms trust that we’ll be able to deliver exactly what they want.

“Having sufficient working capital is crucial in enabling us to put everything in place that we need to be able to offer, which is where NEL’s involvement with the business has been invaluable, and there’s no way we could have achieved what we have without their support, both financial and advisory.

“We know each other very well, and the investments we’ve been able to make with their help in our services, sites and people have been central to keeping the business moving forward.”

Group Horizon, which employs 50 people, secured previous portions of the Growth Fund in 2013 and 2014, totalling £380,000.

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Group Horizon is a regional success story with a real and widening national footprint, and is using investment capital as a means of developing the business in line with a strong flow of commercial opportunities.”

Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.

Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five-year period.

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