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New investment club aims to grow UK SMEs

By Nicola Cottam , 31-Mar-2014
Last updated on 31-Mar-2014 at 13:38 GMT

New investment club aims to grow UK SMEs

A new investment club has launched in the UK aimed at small to medium sized businesses in the food and drink industry looking to raise capital to grow their business.

Granary Investment Partners is the brainchild of former investment advisor Mark Lister and food entrepreneur Paul Simmons who have brought together a group of commercial managers - with backgrounds in supermarket retailing, food manufacturing, and the sustainable and health food sectors - who are eager to offer equity funding to cash-strapped businesses.

Simmons founded and built up snack food company, Glisten Group, from a £12m to £240m business over a 10-year period before selling to Finnish food company Raisio in 2012. Lister has 20 years of experience in corporate finance and transaction services in the food sector and was formerly a partner with PKF accounting and advisory services for 14 years.

“The club offers a viable alternative source of finance for SMEs wanting to expand their business but unable to secure investment from the banks – whether they want to increase production, develop new products or move into new markets," he said.

"It is a big step to take on an equity investor but we all have experience within the food and drink industry and can offer valuable advice and support. We simply want to give something back.”

Investing in your future

To qualify for ‘business angle finance’ businesses need to have a minimum turnover of £100,000. The team want to build a portfolio of five to six investments and are particularly interested in food manufacturing and companies involved in new product development in the health and functional foods industry. Businesses need to be based in the UK.

“For a £100,000 investment we ask for a combined 30% stake in the company. This would be divided between five to six members. We are not interested in getting involved in businesses on a day to day basis but as mentors we are on hand to help when needed and we can use our combined expertise to steer companies in the right direction if necessary.”

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