NEWRY FIRM BUILDS ON SUCCESS WITH GROWTH LOAN FUND SUPPORT – Newry-based Healthy Buildings (Ireland) trading as HBE has secured a £500,000 loan from the Growth Loan Fund. The funds will be used to create 10 new jobs and support the group’s BlueZone Technologies subsidiary, to further develop and market its innovative ‘manager’ software platform.
Finance for the £50m Growth Loan Fund – which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance – has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investors, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).
BlueZone Technologies is a specialist software solutions company that develops products for the management of Supply Chain, Health & Safety, Inductions and Compliance eLearning within the built environment.
Adrian Byrne, CEO, commented: “BlueZone Technologies has been developing our manager product for the past 18 months and launched it into the market in March. Research has shown that many customers want less software in their organisations. With each department having their own software packages to undertake one or two specific compliance tasks, this has led to data variations between systems, which makes decision-making and planning difficult. There is a clear demand for an all-in-one solution to optimise business operations.
‘manager’ is a unique system that can control, monitor, report and manage all aspects of health and safety within the built environment. BlueZone Technologies will help eliminate paper records and allow companies to access critical data about their estate, anytime and from anywhere. The program also includes a number of eLearning courses and an induction module for staff and supplier development.
Customer response to date has been excellent. We’ve started rolling manager out to a number of existing clients within our sister company, HBE, and we’ve recently secured contracts with two major brands, one in Northern Ireland and one in Scotland.”
Looking ahead Mr Byrne added: “The support from the Growth Loan Fund will enable BlueZone Technologies to continue with the software development and will support our marketing initiatives. We’re currently developing mobile apps and will add further eLearning modules to meet the needs of different sectors. Over the next two years we will build new relationships in Great Britain and Ireland and plan to break into mainland Europe. With busy times ahead, we expect to take on an additional ten staff this year, with four of these positions already filled.”
Jenna Mairs, Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners, commented: “With more businesses shifting to digital data management, Adrian and his team have created an innovative product that will be used by some of the world’s largest brands.
“The IT sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Northern Ireland economy and it continues to go from strength to strength. The company has ambitious targets for growth over the next two years and we look forward to supporting the firm’s future successes.”
Brian Murphy, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland, commented: “As advisers to the Group we are delighted that BlueZone Technologies has secured such a positive outcome to this funding round.
“The investment by WhiteRock not only underpins the financial foundations of the business; it also enables the management team to establish the necessary structures for the successful launch and growth of the manager product throughout Great Britain. It represents an excellent opportunity for BlueZone Technologies to grow to the next level with a dynamic new partner and we wish the business and the team every success as they do so.”
WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the FCA, was established in 2012 to manage the Fund and is owned by a consortium of three partners – WhiteRock Finance Limited, NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers.
Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors. Loans will be typically unsecured and personal guarantees will not be sought.
The loans provided are expected to be complementary to existing sources of finance, including banks, trade finance sources and equity investors. Loans are provided on a fully commercial basis, with monthly loan repayments required over typically a five-year term. For more information about the Growth Loan Fund’s criteria please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.growthloanfund.com.