One Sign & Digital secure £100,000 investment to improve production

Second Finance for Business North East Growth Fund investment for the Team Valley firm

Simon Johnson of NEL (left) and Chris Timmins of One Sign
Simon Johnson of NEL (left) and Chris Timmins of One Sign

Signage specialists One Sign and Digital have secured a £100,000 investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund.

It is the second Growth Fund investment, via NEL Fund Managers, for the Team Valley-based firm, following a £200,000 tranche in early 2013.

Since then the business has added three people to its existing 22-strong team, and now this latest amount will be used to fund a new aluminium welding machine, which allows for a higher quality product finish.

The previous £200,000 investment was used to buy the region’s first high precision Durst Omega 1 flatbed digital printer. The machine, which prints directly onto a wide range of different materials at photographic quality, has led directly to One Sign bringing in two new blue chip clients.

The move resulted in the creation of an additional 1,000 square feet of production space at the rear of the firm’s existing premises.

Established in 2009 by then 26 year-old managing director Chris Timmins, One Sign & Digital works with the likes of Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle Racecourse, Gateshead College and Ramsdens, as well as others across the UK.

Mr Timmins said: “The capital we received last year has been absolutely crucial in enabling us to set the business up how we wanted it to be, and to pursue the sort of work that we think best fits with our capabilities - doing any of this wouldn’t have been an option without it.

“Properly managing its expansion is one of the biggest challenges that any growing business faces, and we recognised a need to increase the working capital available to us so we could do just that.

“We’ve had a very positive relationship with the NEL team since the first investment went in, and have stayed close to them as we’ve progressed, so extending this relationship seemed like a very natural step.

“Having set the business up at the beginning of the recession, it’s really pleasing to see how far One Sign has come already - we’ve got a great team on board who are all committed to what we’re doing, and have every chance to take things even further.”

Simon Johnson, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “The One Sign management team’s initial business plan has been executed very impressively, and providing them with the capital required to support their continuing development offered an attractive investment proposition.

“Making capital available like this at different stages of regional businesses’ evolution is crucial to both their success and that of the wider North East economy.”

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.

NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.

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