West Lancashire based EPIC Risk Management is expanding its services in tackling one of society’s fastest growing problems using a £70,000 loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance – a product fund managed by GC Business Finance in partnership with MSIF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
EPIC is the UK and Ireland’s leading gambling harm minimisation consultancy, specialising in the prevention of problem gambling in the highest risk sectors including financial services, education, the criminal justice sector, the gambling industry and elite professional sport. EPIC already works with an extensive roster of clients including, Eton, the British Army, Chelsea Footballl Club, Barclays Bank and the English Football League (EFL) and, having grown from three to 14 staff, will now use the £70k investment from NPIF to recruit more team members to deliver their life changing training and support services within more businesses.
EPIC CEO Paul Buck was a successful finance professional working for Europe’s largest bank, during which time he developed a pathological gambling disorder that saw him transact nearly £5m across 93 separate gambling accounts. Whilst spending time in prison for a £434,000 debt, he formed a gambling support service that has helped over 90 gambling related offenders to address their addiction and be better prepared for release.
On his release, Paul set up EPIC in order to stop this happening to others and to help prevent gambling issues through education and risk management consultancy services that help companies to reduce the hidden risks associated with problematic gambling. Most recently EPIC secured a large contract with FTSE 100 company GVC Holdings PLC, one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups.
This will see EPIC drive culture change, educate over 12,000 state school children EPIC Risk Management was introduced to GC Business Finance by Prakash Patel of the Access to Finance team, part of Boost Business Lancashire. Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC said: “Gambling has come a long way from the high street betting shop with virtual casinos and gambling apps now available to anyone, 24 hours a day.
From financial institutions to football clubs, organisations simply have no idea of the level of the problem, and how quickly it can escalate and damage their security, productivity and reputation, as well as the lives and heath of their staff or people under their care. We know that one in five people now gamble on their smartphones at work, and a recent study* found that people with a gambling problem are 15 times more likely to take their own life so this is a serious problem that is not going away. “This investment from NPIF will help us to take the next step in our journey which is the creation of a number of new jobs for people who can help us to meet the growing demand for the life-changing training and support services we deliver within business and organisations.”
Mark Gibbons of GC Business Finance said: “Paul’s story is a truly inspiring one of someone who has used his own shattering experience to build a business that is now tackling one of society’s fastest growing problems. EPIC’s growth has been, in a word, epic. From setting up the company in 2011, Paul has gone on to secure contracts and work with some of the biggest names in sport and hundreds of companies, working with them to take a real-world approach to identifying and addressing the harm that gambling can cause to lives and livelihoods. We’re proud to be able to support him with £70k of NPIF funding which means his team can continue to educate and help even more people as the business expands.”
David Taylor, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Many people think that the only start-ups and scale-ups who are successful at securing funding like this in Lancashire are those involved in hi-tech sectors. But as EPIC has demonstrated, funding through programmes like the NPIF initiative can be successfully secured by all kinds of businesses if they have a strong proposition, dynamic leadership and a clear desire to grow.” 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.
Businesses seeking further information about the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund can contact http://www.businessfinance.growthco.uk or call 0161 245 4977.
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