Famed for its spectacular landscape, Cumbria is the home of the Lake District, the UK’s most visited National Park. The region is unsurprisingly the second most-visited tourism destination in the UK and plays a key role in food supply with its significant land-based and farming activity.
Alongside the rural landscape, the area boasts a range of thriving sectors including a high concentration of advanced manufacturing, Health and Social Care, Construction, Logistics and Professional Services.
We caught up with Maven’s dedicated Investment Managers for the region, James Rosthorn and Dean Cox to find out more about what it takes to raise funding as a local business and what support opportunities local entrepreneurs can access.
1. Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself – what’s your role at Maven?
As Investment Managers at Maven, we lead investments across our different funds, principally in Cumbria to provide a funding solution to suit the needs to growing businesses based here. We get to work with some great founders and business teams who are often specialists or experts in their field looking to disrupt the industries they operate in.
2. What do you think are the advantages to growing businesses operating in the LEP region?
Cumbria is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque and beautiful places to live and work in the UK and is renowned for innovation, particularly in renewable energy and Agricultural Tech. We believe that these sectors have huge export potential as they are going to be dominant not just in the UK economy but also the global economy.
In addition to the sectors highlighted above, we envisage that in a post-COVID world there will be a cultural shift from start-ups and more mature businesses operating in city centres to more picturesque settings that encourage a work life balance and facilitate innovation. We feel that Cumbria has those characteristics in abundance and is a great region to invest in.
3. What would you say to a business that is put off by taking on investment and would prefer to grow their business organically?
Growing organically can be the right approach for businesses, though inward investment allows good ideas to flourish into thriving, profit making businesses, accelerating growth and allowing business owners to invest in people and assets. Investment allows step changes in a business to be made, to take advantage of favourable sector conditions and not be left behind in an increasingly competitive landscape.
4. What do you think are the main obstacles to accessing finance to grow that businesses face today?
Different types of finance are available for different requirements, perhaps the biggest challenge is assessing what is right for your business with so many options available. Accessing investment takes time and requires considerable effort so it is not to be taken lightly, though the benefits can be massive and transformational to a business.
COVID-19 will also undoubtedly impact on access to funding over the next couple of years as an ability for a business to function remotely will become a key consideration in any investment thesis.
5. What’s your top tip for a business that’s looking to raise funding?
Start talking to investors and advisors as soon as possible – it is much better to be ahead of the game rather than getting to a point where funding is needed in very short order.
6. As a national company, what other funding and support opportunities does Maven bring to the LEP region?
Maven operates a number of funds, investing in businesses from £50k to £15m+. All our investment benefit from a Maven executive working with the business long term to support and add value. We are more than happy to discuss options with business owners or advisors to find the right way forward to achieve their funding goals.
Are you a local business looking for funding or support to grow? Contact our local team on 0161 233 3520.