An ambitious digital marketing professional is aiming to build on the fast start he has made to running his own business with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Shane Parkins and his team provide search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and related digital marketing services to a growing range of clients both across the UK and overseas.

Shane set up the Shildon-based business 18 months ago after spending 14 years working in a number of North East agency and in-house roles.

He has now worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to obtain the £20,000 investment, which is being used to bring in the resources needed to manage growing client demand and to help equip his new recruits to the business with the skills and knowledge they require.

Three staff have already been taken on, with further jobs expected to be created as the business grows, and it is on track to hit Shane’s target of breaking the one million pound turnover barrier within five years.

The company splits its work into two distinct halves, with work carried out directly with clients across different industries, including retail, insurance and property, being complemented by relationships with a number of marketing agencies around the UK.

Shane Parkins, who is an accredited Google partner and a SEMRush certified agency partner, says: “Our growth has been based around using the SEO services that we provide ourselves, which are bringing in significant numbers of new leads and which demonstrate the measurable impact that we could have on potential clients’ marketing activity.

“We’re passionate about doing the best possible job for our clients, which feeds into the ongoing relationships that we’re building with many of them and which in turn underpins our commercial success.

“This investment gives us the resources we need to bring in the staff required to manage growing client demand and is allowing us to give young people from our area the training they need to begin to build their own careers in our industry.

“We’re well on track to hit our million pound turnover target and expect to see our headcount continuing to increase as our growth plans are fully rolled out.

“NEL’s backing is helping to accelerate our growth plans and the team gave us exceptional support as we worked our way through the application process.”

Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Shane’s confidence in applying the knowledge he’s built up through his career has proven to be well-founded, and after making a very impressive start, his business now has the resources it needs to fully maximise its growth potential.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of up to

£100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

NEL Fund Managers is also responsible for managing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to

£500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.