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Fleetwood fish firm nets growth funding

Gary Apps of My Fish Company website

A family-run fish wholesaler based in Fleetwood is experiencing rapid growth, thanks in part to funding it received through Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

My Fish Company Ltd, has gone from 17 staff when it was founded in September 2015, to 47 staff, 11 delivery vans and over 300 independent customers across the North West.

Founded by Gary Apps and Kim Ashton, the company supplies high-quality fresh fish, seafood and frozen products to the hotel and restaurant trade.

Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in Cumbria, 60 Hope Street Liverpool and Hotel Football Manchester, are among its customers. It also works with Booths supermarkets to supply all the fresh product for the company’s fish counters and own-label packaged fish.

Working with Boost and its North West Access to Finance team, My Fish Company was able to secure a micro loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Business Finance fund. The loan has enabled it to create eight full-time and three part-time jobs.

Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).The My Fish Company team web

Kim, who manages the HR and financial side of the business, said: “Our business is focused on three things, people, product and passion for the industry. We have well over 200 years of fish industry experience in the team and thrive on helping more young people into the industry. We want to tackle the skills shortage in the industry. The funding we received through Boost has enabled us to take on and train additional staff.  It has also allowed us to increase our vehicle fleet, which in turn has meant we can expand our geographical footprint across the North West.”

Gary, who has worked in the industry since leaving school, added: “We want to be known for supplying the highest quality fish and seafood to hotels and restaurants across the region. Jonathan Nelson from the Access to Finance team really took the time to understand our business, meeting with us on three separate occasions and submitting the application to Rosebud on our behalf. We couldn’t have grown so quickly without his support.”

Jonathan Nelson, of North West Access to Finance, said: “It’s great to see the company continuing to grow so quickly. Gary and Kim have a relentless passion for the fishing industry in Fleetwood and this filters through to the rest of the team. It’s the reason they have been able to come so far in such a short space of time.”

Boost Business Lancashire has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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