Two years ago, 16 jobs were created and another 28 secured after wheelchair safety products firm Q’Straint secured a £900,000 interest-free loan.
The global company built an advanced research and development facility in Whitstable after receiving the cash from Kent County Council’s Expansion East Kent scheme.
Commercial manager and financial controller James Broadley said: “The loan we received from KCC enabled us to make the investment quickly. Without the cash injection, it would have taken longer to get up and running.
“It’s an interesting world at the moment. There’s an air of confidence in business and in our economy generally.
“Private equity can be helpful when there is a gap between what the bank can fund and what the business owner wants to do..." - James Bullock, Brachers
When it comes to gaining funding, the bank is still the most popular route, according to Mr Bullock.
He said: “Private equity can be helpful when there is a gap between what the bank can fund and what the business owner wants to do.
“Obviously, that involves giving away a slice of equity – so, generally, if a deal can be done with the bank that’s what will happen. It depends on the aspirations of the business owner.”
Anita Brightley-Hodges, managing director of consultancy Family Business Place, based in Detling, has been setting up a network of family-business investors.
She said: “Other family businesses match their values about hard work and quality. They are local employers and hold on to staff for a long time, who share their passion.
“A lot of them have a unique business where they had to learn their trade or a recipe is handed down through generations. However, they need to be making a profit and are often not scalable.
“They are often the real deal but need help getting their brand global.”
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