Preston software developer Blue Wren has secured a £50,000 investment from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Microfinance. The investment will be used to fund a significant expansion of the company over the next three years.
£25k of the investment was facilitated by GC Business Finance, the managers of the fund, and £25k was delivered by Lancashire’s Rosebud Microfinance. Investing the £50k funding this year will put Blue Wren firmly on track to increase turnover to £2 million by 2021.
Run by MD Michael Lough and Technical Director Phil Hodson and employing 18 people in their Preston offices, Blue Wren builds software and mobile applications that improve business productivity. This new funding will enable them to create three new jobs across technical support, project management and business development; as well as investing in marketing for two SaaS (Software as a Service) products they are also developing.
Blue Wren also deliver website development and hosting, working with clients across the UK. They previously received growth mentoring and UCLan Innovation Clinic support from Boost to help the business develop their software offering, and are a member of Boost & Co, the growth hub’s network of public and private sector organisations dedicated to helping Lancashire businesses to grow.
Blue Wren MD Michael Lough said: “For many growing businesses it is often the inefficiency of their systems that is holding them back. If used effectively, digital technology can streamline operations and stimulate productivity. It is our goal at Blue Wren to deliver software solutions that do just that, and help our clients fulfill their growth potential.
“We were introduced to GC Business Finance by the Lancashire A2F team and they immediately saw the opportunity. Thanks to this loan we can invest in our team and bring a range of new products to market that will enable us to reach even more organisations and create lasting positive change.”
Mark Gibbons, Senior Loan Manager at GCBF, said: “When they came to us for the loan Michael and his team at Blue Wren already had an impressive portfolio of products and clients across the SME market. By helping them to access the finance they need to grow we are investing in a great business that is creating jobs and developing world class solutions to support other small businesses.”
Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “NPIF continues to support ambitious businesses with the talent to succeed with the right backing. Blue Wren is testament to this, and we are pleased to be able to provide investment alongside Lancashire’s Rosebud Microfinance fund which will help to strengthen the company’s infrastructure and ultimately create new jobs for the northern economy.”
Lancashire County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “We are pleased to support Blue Wren. They’re a digital technology firm whose work also supports other Lancashire companies. This is exactly the sort of business that Rosebud is here to support.”
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.