Its 2018 investments included an £6m cash injection into fast-growing Wirral manufacturer of digital kiosks and video walls, Evoke Creative. Tony McDonough reports
Small and medium business investment specialist BGF says 2018 was a record year after it injected £80m into 16 ventures in Merseyside and across the North West.
That figure includes £58m across eight new investments and £22m follow-on funding for eight existing portfolio companies based across the region. It means BFG has now invested more than £230m across 23 North Wes businesses since it was set up in 2011.
Its 2018 investments included an £6m cash injection into fast-growing Wirral manufacturer of digital kiosks and video walls, Evoke Creative.
Led by founders Neil Clark and Dean Ward, Bromborough-based Evoke supplies digital self-service kiosks, video walls, digital signage and payment terminals to customers in the retail and leisure sectors and employs 75 people.
New investments in 2018 included Mission Mars, the North West operator behind hospitality concepts Albert’s Schloss and Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza. Mission Mars was the highest ranking North West business in 2018’s Sunday Times FastTrack.
BGF also added web hosting company Miss Group, Lancaster-based technology business Gaist and international bakery business Carrs Foods to its portfolio, while providing further funding for portfolio companies Kids Planet and High Access.
Neil Inskip of BGF said: “Last year saw a continued climb in our investment activity across the North West, reflecting the work we’ve done to grow the team and build our infrastructure to drive new deals.
“North west entrepreneurs are clearly concerned about uncertainty surrounding Brexit, but this hasn’t translated into a wholesale pause in growth plans.
“We are pleased to be entering the new year with an encouraging pipeline and our focus in the region is to ensure that motivated companies are not forced into a growth hiatus because of a lack of support or investment in 2019.”
Other portfolio businesses continued to expand with acquisitions, including Hobs Group’s purchase of Callprint and Canon UK’s 3D printing business in December.