A Lancashire company which supplies and maintains living plants to businesses across the North West is expanding with a £150k loan from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, a product fund managed by FW Capital.

Inleaf, based in Buckshaw Village, Lancashire, provides plant displays and living wall installations to offices, hotels, car dealerships and public spaces. Recent projects include a 50m2 external living wall for Manchester University.

The company was set up three years ago by husband and wife team Charlotte and Daniel Atherton.

With demand for their products increasing, Inleaf needed funding to expand. However, as the business operates in a niche area they found traditional finance sources were not available.

Director Daniel Atherton said: “The business has grown quite significantly since we started and with Christmas coming we’ve also had lots of requests for festive installations so it was crucial that we were able to cope with the increased demand.

The business was initially helped by Growth Lancashire and sign posted to Prakash Patel from Access to Finance who referred them to Andy Traynor at FW Capital.  FW Capital provides loans between £100k and £750k for growing businesses.

Since the loan the business has secured new contracts worth over £50k, and taken on an extra member of staff taking the total number of employees to five. They have also ordered two new vans and set up a franchise.

Daniel added: “Prakash and Andy have both been a huge source of support. They understood straight away what we were trying do as a business and guided us through the funding process.  Everything was straightforward and we were able to access the money very quickly.”

Senior Investment Executive Andy Traynor said: “Inleaf is a fantastic business which has taken an opportunity and run with it. The management team are very experienced and our loan will help them with the capital they need to grow.”

“We work very closely with the team at Access to Finance and other business support organisations across the region which is important in order to provide a clear and simple route of entry to NPIF.  This fund offers a vital source of alternative finance and will have a significant impact on the local economy.”

Prakash Patel at Access to Finance said: “After the first meeting it was clear that the business had significant opportunity to grow following the successes achieved by the management team in the last 12 months. They have the right combination of management and industry experience which has led to their significant rate of growth. The funding from FW Capital will enable the company to expand its team, its service proposition and in the future support the creation of further businesses in this sector.”

Sue Barnard, Senior Relationship Manager at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF has supported Inleaf with the funding it needs to achieve its growth targets. It’s great to see that by working with the growth hubs, fund managers are able to seek out these ambitious businesses and provide the vital funding they need to expand and boost the economy across the Lancashire region.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides microloans, debt and equity investments, ranging from £25,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.  The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is delivered by The British Business Bank.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please visit www.npif.co.uk.

Photo Caption (L-R): 

  • Daniel Atherton, Charlotte Atherton, Inleaf
  • Andy Traynor, FW Capital
  • Sue Barnard, British Business Bank
  • Prakash Patel, Access to Finance

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