Tees Valley haulage recruitment firm raises £300k to drive growth
A recruitment platform which allows haulage operators to reduce costs has raised a further £300,000 to support its expansion plans.
Avail Technologies has secured funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and directors including chairman Keverne Watt. It comes as the company moves to new headquarters in Stockton-on-Tees, where it plans to recruit a further five staff in the year ahead.
Founded by former British Army logistics specialist Erin Short, Avail removes the need for traditional recruitment agencies for short-term contracts, allowing hauliers to reduce costs and drivers to earn more and comply with IR35 legislation. The company, which was first backed by NPIF in 2019, has recently agreed a partnership with the industry body Logistics UK, part of the Freight Transport Association.
Erin Short, the company’s founder, said:
“The pandemic has had a major impact on supply chains and the haulage industry. By improving efficiency and enabling them to recruit drivers remotely, our platform has helped firms to keep going in these uncertain times. With continued pressure on costs, it is all the more important for operators to minimise unnecessary expenses like recruitment fees to enable them to maintain profits and improve drivers’ wages.”
Simon Crabtree of Mercia added:
“Avail is revolutionising the way haulage firms recruit drivers for short-term contracts. The company has already proved the success of its model and won recognition from some of the industry leaders. As we emerge from lockdown and freight levels return to normal, this latest funding will help it to expand its customer base and grow its team.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Head of Marketing & Communications
Mercia Asset Management PLC
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£872million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over c.£106million across its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and manages Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
- The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
- The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
- The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb