Second investment for Group Horizon aids UK-wide growth plans

Low-carbon sector specialist Group Horizon works with a growing number of vocational colleges, local authorities and employers to help give people the new skills they need to work in the renewable energy, construction and manufacturing industries

Simon Williams From left, Chris Parker of NEL with Peter Behan and Dan Elgie of Group Horizon
From left, Chris Parker of NEL with Peter Behan and Dan Elgie of Group Horizon

A North East training company that has branched out across the UK and grown turnover 30% in the last year is aiming to explore new opportunities with a number of major employers after securing a second tranche of funding.

Low-carbon sector specialist Group Horizon works with a growing number of vocational colleges, local authorities and employers to help give people the new skills they need to work in the renewable energy, construction and manufacturing industries.

In early 2013, the Gateshead-headquartered firm secured a £200,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, administered by NEL Fund Managers. Since then, it has developed a standardised approach to service provision that can be tailored and rolled out in any location.

The implementation of its expansion plans has now brought the company to the attention of several major employers across the UK who are looking for partners to help deliver on their training and corporate social responsibility objectives.

The Group Horizon management team has therefore gone back to NEL for a further £180,000 Growth Fund investment that will provide it with the working capital required to take advantage of the new opportunities.

It is expected more jobs will be created as a result, boosting the firm’s 48-strong workforce further.

Having increased turnover by 30% over the past year to more than £4m, Group Horizon is also on track to deliver on its plan to reach a £6-7m turnover over the medium-term.

Peter Behan, who founded the company in 2009 with fellow engineer Dan Elgie after spotting a gap in the market around training provision in the low-carbon sector, said: “The first investment we received helped us establish a presence around the UK, and because of what we’ve achieved nationally, we’ve come to the attention of a number of larger firms who understand how our skills and services can help them deliver their commercial objectives.

“In order to work with these organisations, they need to be totally confident that we have everything in place to fulfil their requirements, and the standardised systems and services we’ve developed and delivered give us the evidence we need to secure that confidence.

“Even though it’s been a tough year in our sector, we’ve managed to achieve substantial growth, and there are a number of opportunities in the pipeline that are set to keep this trend growing through 2014 and beyond, bringing new jobs and increased revenues with them.

“NEL have remained closely interested in our progress, but have also allowed us to just get on with delivering the business plan.’’

Chris Parker, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Having investment capital available to help businesses through the different stages of development is a crucial part of encouraging successful firms to keep moving forwards.”

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