Launceston-based print manufacturer expands into new markets thanks to support from Access to Finance
KCS Print, which is a family-run manufacturer of high quality integrated label forms, has successfully secured a series of grants to aid expansion after receiving specialist one-to-one support from the team at Access to Finance.
The injection of funding, which together totals £137,000 is being used to fund new machinery and systems to enable the business to diversify into the food and drink sector and expand its team by five over the next 12 months.
The launch of the company’s new food and drink division, Root Sustainable Labels, means it will now be able to produce branded product labels for food, drink and lifestyle brands. The new line will produce bespoke labels with added, laminates, embossing, foiling and varnishes. Essentially everything needed to make a product really stand out on the shelves.
Zoe Deadman, Managing Director with Jackie George, Business Finance Specialist
Zoe Deadman, Managing Director of KCS Print in Launceston, said: “This is the biggest expansion in our business to date. We had started to discuss the need to diversify before COVID-19 struck, but the pandemic really cemented the need to do so. We were interested in applying for a BIG productivity grant to support our ambitions, but I personally had never undertaken a grant application before so I contacted Access to Finance.
“Access to Finance provides a really personalised service. It is like having an in-house expert in your business. As an SME, we don’t have time to waste so any investment has to make a tangible difference. Access to Finance has probably been the easiest and most directly beneficial business support I’ve received in the last five years.
“Our finance specialist, Jackie George, made us aware of the different grants available to us. She was very clear on the process, what we would need in terms of accounts, the funding thresholds and the intricacies of the application process. In fact, we were asked all sorts of very specific questions as part of our application, but Jackie was able to cut through to what we needed to do and in what order. I think obtaining grant funding would have been harder to achieve without the support of Access to Finance and it would have taken far longer.”
Thanks to the knowledge and experience of the team at Access to Finance, KCS Print not only secured a £117,000 for machinery through the BIG 3 Productivity Grant, but also a £14,000 grant for a new MIS System via the Digital Transformation programme and £6,000 worth of grant funding from the Superfast Cornwall programme to support the company’s ambitions and future-proof the business.
Now employing 25 staff, KCS Print has come a long way since it was started at the family home by Zoe’s mother in 1987. The business has always done things in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, but this is now central to its business model as the company currently works towards B Corp status – which measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact and is a designation that a business is meeting high standards.
“The world of business has changed,” explains Zoe, who took over the company from her mother just two years before the pandemic hit. “It is no longer just about how much money you can make, it is also about adding greater value, ethics, green credentials and sustainability. We are proud to be pushing forward to a more sustainable future as we grow and putting this into the DNA of our business.”
Since it was established in 2017, the Access to Finance programme has supported over 2,380 businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and helped local businesses raise over £36 million over the last five years. As well as delivering workshops, the team provides tailored one-to-one support and can assist with everything from financial forecasting to finding and applying for funding.
The Access to Finance programme, which is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice, is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund. With a regional office in Redruth, Oxford Innovation Advice has been engaged in ‘levelling up’ and supporting businesses in Cornwall for over 12 years – enhancing the economy, lives and prosperity of communities and individuals across the county.