A Worcestershire-based supplier of modular retail units has secured a funding boost to fulfil orders and safeguard 15 jobs during the period of interruption caused by the coronavirus.
Rapid Retail secured a £98,000 investment from BCRS Business Loans through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Although the company has a strong order book in place, the countrywide lockdown imposed in March made it challenging for Rapid Retail to produce and deliver units as scheduled – plus many events and venues that were taking delivery of the modular units had to be cancelled or temporarily shut.
Now, as restrictions start to be lifted, Rapid Retail has secured this funding boost to help fulfil pre-existing orders and protect jobs until normal trading conditions resume.
Rapid Retail designs, produces and installs modular-constructed units to enhance retail experiences at events, stadia and venues across the UK and Europe. The company offers a portable, cost-effective and fully-branded alternative to bricks and mortar for portable shops, food and beverage stands, kiosks and fan zone areas. The firm counts Gregg’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Costa Coffee, Arsenal and FC Barcelona as part of its extensive client base.
Managing director of Rapid Retail, Nick Daffern, said: “As Europe’s leading supplier of bespoke modular retail units, we are fortunate to have entered this pandemic with a very strong order pipeline and a loyal customer base. Plus, Rapid Retail’s sales had more than doubled in our last financial year.
“Although the lockdown period has inevitably affected our business, we are now focusing on trading conditions returning to normal in early Autumn. But for now, we are putting measures in place to make it safe for our team to return to work so we can fulfil pre-existing orders and continue to focus on the growth of our business in the third and fourth quarter of this financial year.
“The whole loan process with BCRS was amazing and securing funding is essential for business growth and sustainability during such unprecedented times. It quite literally puts the lights on for businesses.”
Stephen Deakin, CEO at BCRS Business Loans, added: “We are delighted to have been able to support Rapid Retail during the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus. Rapid Retail has an incredibly unique and innovative product, which many of us will have already seen at entertainment venues across the UK and Europe without realising.
“It is so reassuring to see that Nick and the team at Rapid Retail have got such a positive, glass half-full attitude; this pandemic has highlighted how resilient businesses in the West Midlands are. As a lender of social and economic impact, we are pleased to see that 15 jobs have been safeguarded at this time.”
Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “CBILS, which is having an immediate effect on the firm and allowing it to safeguard jobs and adapt to current challenges. The Fund continues to support businesses through these difficult economic times, and we’d encourage SMEs in the Midlands to consider the funding options available through MEIF and to reach out to our fund managers.”
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Many businesses have been impacted hard by the UK coronavirus situation and it is great to see funding support delivered during this time. Rapid Retail is a great example of how businesses can utilise the variety of funding support out there, and I would strongly encourage any other Worcestershire businesses to consider using COVID-19 support funds to support them during these times.”
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The Midlands Engine 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.
West Midlands based businesses can secure loans from £50,001 to £100,000 via CBILS from accredited lender BCRS Business Loans. Visit the BCRS website here to discover more.