A North East entrepreneur whose sales have increased by more than 150% in the past year is urging other SMEs in the region to follow his lead if they want to expand.
Ross Linnett, chief executive of cloud-based web accessibility specialist Recite Me, attributes the company’s growth to the support and investment it has received from Newcastle-based Northstar Ventures.
Since setting up Recite Me in Gateshead in 2010, Mr Linnett has benefitted from investment totalling £440,000 from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator and Proof of Concept funds.
Now, he is urging other start-ups and early stage companies to follow the same route, accessing some of the £5m available through the funds this year.
He said: “When I first approached the team about funding, back in 2010, I had a very basic business plan.
“Northstar helped me bring it up to scratch and to develop a more scalable proposition.
“Northstar has always supported us and our vision for Recite and we have been able to produce some amazing new technology through this.
“Consequently, we were invited to accompany the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on two trade trips to China and, last summer, to meet HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
“In addition we are now preparing to join the Lord Mayor of London at a Business, Innovation and Skills, dinner and reception in March.”
To date, the Finance for Business North East Accelerator and Proof of Concept funds have invested in around 200 companies in the region and hope to invest in a further 20 in 2015.
The funds are backed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Regional Growth Fund and the European Investment Bank.
Alasdair Greig, director at Northstar Ventures, said: “We are looking to back another 20+ businesses this year across a range of sizes and sectors.
“If any business in the region thinks they can benefit from our funding and involvement, please pick up the phone and have an initial chat with one of our investment managers.
“You don’t need a fully-fledged business plan in place as we will work with you to produce a fundable plan.
“And, if we are unable to provide your company with funding we will always be happy to point you in the right direction to help you fulfil your investment needs.”