A Birmingham creative production agency which delivers campaigns for leading brands has secured £140,000 to fund a buy-out by its management team.
Matrix Graphics, based in Newhall Street, received funding from West Midlands lender BCRS Business Loans via the Community Investment Enterprise Facility (CIEF) to carry out the purchase by the senior management team.
Following the buy-out the agency, which provides creative content and strategy which allows brands such as Rolls Royce, Network Rail and the Open University to engage with target audiences, is embarking on the next phase of its growth plans, safeguarding 16 jobs in the process.
The previous owners had been looking at all options through a sale when directors Mark Wheeler and Mark Harknett indicated they wanted to take over the business. Having been frustrated by the lack of opportunities from mainstream funders, the pair got in touch with BCRS Business Loans, who saw the opportunity and guided them through the application process.
Mark Wheeler said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding required to complete the management buy-out of Matrix Graphics, which would not have been possible without backing from BCRS Business Loans.
“The previous owners had led the business through difficult times, including the pandemic, and wanted to go in a different direction through a sale, which could have resulted in roles being lost under new ownership. Matrix Graphics is a great business with more than 30 years of heritage and some fantastic clients so we were keen to take over ownership.
“Finding support from traditional lenders proved too difficult but from the first conversation with BCRS Business Loans onwards, we found they could see our projections stacked up and believed in us. They took the time to work with us and helped us put together a deal which was accepted by the shareholders.”
Mark Harknett said: “We wanted the business to have as much continuity as possible as it has a great team and some leading clients. We work with the likes of Barbour, Collins Aerospace and Crown Paints to deliver campaigns which range from compelling social media activity to eye-catching out of home advertising.
“Mark and I have known each other for more than 30 years so our friendship and strong sector experience will be the basis for the growth of Matrix Graphics. We are implementing a 90-day plan to put in place new systems and strategies for growth, with the motivation of building on the success of a business where we have worked for years and know its potential.
“It felt like fate that having had no interest from banks we met BCRS Business Loans and they understood what we wanted to achieve and were prepared to help us deliver our goals. The team at BCRS were very accessible, offered great advice on finding other expertise and come highly recommended based on our very positive experience. BCRS were as good as we could have hoped them to be.”
Louise Armstrong, Senior Business Development Manager at BCRS Business Loans, supported the directors throughout the loan application process to help them buy the business from the previous owners. Louise said:
“As a co-operative Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) we are committed to supporting the growth and prosperity of as many businesses we can across the West Midlands region. Matrix Graphics is an incredible business which delivers engaging creative assets for use by household name brands on every marketing channel.
“With a strong leadership team and deliverable plans, we knew this funding would allow a management buy-out which can bring further success. Where other lenders do not engage, we believe no viable business should go unsupported, so we were pleased to help Matrix Graphics at every step of the journey.”
Delivered on a local level by BCRS Business Loans, CIEF is managed by Social Investment Scotland. Alastair Davis, chief executive at Social Investment Scotland, said:
“This loan to Mark and Mark is a great example of where CDFIs like BCRS make a real difference, and why the Community Investment Enterprise Facility has been set up. I wish the new team at Matrix every success for the future and we look forward to seeing the impact that they make.”
Businesses in the West Midlands region that are struggling to access finance from traditional lenders can secure loans from £10,000 to £150,000 from BCRS Business Loans to support growth and recovery plans. BCRS is a delivery partner for the latest phase of the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).
Visit www.bcrs.org.uk to discover more or submit an initial application form.