A County Durham based print company has secured a six-figure funding boost from UKSE as it continues with an ambitious growth plan.

Design Xpress Ltd is a large format printer supplying print and display items from posters, banners and signage to exhibition graphics and wall décor.  Customers include global print management companies, public sector organisations and small independent businesses.

Director Juliette Brown who founded the company in 1995, said:  “The past two years have been difficult as they have for so many businesses. Demand from the hospitality and events sector disappeared during lockdown but we didn’t close down and remained optimistic about recovery.

“Our work with other sectors such as pharmaceutical, financial, manufacturing and the public sector helped us through.  Working with major print management companies involves us with national names such as Nestle, Hilton Hotels, Pfizer and Volvo. We also won some work connected with the pandemic including adhesive footprints for floors to ensure safe routes through public buildings.”

The company, based in Consett, used its time as productively as possible by re-designing the website, accessing a new online business system, scale-up programme and leadership and management course.  It also maintained its investment in new machinery and the latest LED technology.

“We did everything we could to make sure we were prepared for the first opportunity to boost growth again,” said Juliette. “Like many others we were looking for financial support through a hard time and our best decision was to go back to UKSE, who helped us with funding in 2015. We had an existing relationship and they knew the business well. They have provided the interest rate and flexibility we needed to re-structure and support our three-year growth plan.

“We are now back to pre-Covid levels of business and in the best place to move towards a planned £1.5m turnover,” she added.

It is expected that Design Xpress’s current 10-strong team will grow in the near future with additional administration and sales roles. The company was a finalist in the North East Business Awards in 2019 for growth and ambition and again this year for innovation and technology.

Sarah Thorpe, Regional Manager for UKSE, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, said:  “We already had an established relationship with Juliette and her management team through our previous investment. Design Xpress is in a strong position with a reputation for quality, value and innovation and a sound growth plan.  We are pleased to back the company with this second investment, supported by the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme.”