A manufacturer of equine supplements is galloping for growth after winning a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Equibalancer produces a range of feeds which ensure horses get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and which also cater for the requirements of different types of horses.
The family-owned firm is using a £15,000 investment secured through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to help convert a stable block at its base at Warren Farm Stables near Wolviston into a new manufacturing unit, as well as to invest in new equipment that will help increase capacity.
It is planning to launch four new products before the end of the year and is looking to expand the number of retailers through which customers can buy them, with an open day for potential stockists at the new manufacturing facility scheduled to take place in October.
Equibalancer, which also has an office in Sedgefield and which is investing around £50,000 in total in business improvements, was originally set up by experienced equestrian competitor Tammy Britton, who began making supplements for her own horses 15 years ago and who gradually began to sell them to other riders at the events in which she was competing.
She says: “We’ve only really been focussing on building the business seriously for the last couple of years and the success we’ve had so far has encouraged us to now step things up.
“It takes around 18 months of research, development and testing to bring a new product market and we remain fully committed to using only the best ingredients and no unnecessary fillers.
“We want to now bring the business into the mainstream and to be recognised as one of the leading brands within the equine sector.
“The new manufacturing facility and equipment are absolutely crucial to our development plans, and showing potential new stockists what we’re all about face-to-face is the best way to get the message across about the quality of our products.
“The NEL investment team was really easy to deal with, and the process of bringing in the investment was really straightforward.”
Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 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.
Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Equibalancer is already very well-regarded within the equine world and the team has taken positive steps towards building on their achievements so far.”
The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
NEL is also responsible for investing 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.