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Blackpool-based REAX, a specialist access and rescue training business, has expanded significantly since harnessing a £35,000 microfinance loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF, which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and managed by GC Business Finance and MSIF.

Secured in September 2018, the NPIF loan has enabled the business to bolster its team of external specialist training instructors from three to 17, open several new facilities, and develop a mobile training unit.

When we first set up, securing access to finance was a challenge, but funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund enabled us to accelerate our growth journey quickly.

Keith Parmley, Managing Director at REAX

Founded in 2014 with just three team members, basic equipment, and an empty building in Whitehills Business Park, Blackpool, REAX has grown quickly and now has clients in a variety of sectors, such as emergency services, telecoms, and engineering.

It now operates nationally, with its technical team consulting the likes of DHL on major projects such as its distribution centre at East Midlands Airport. Other clients include IKEA and United Utilities, as REAX has become a world-leader in running confined space courses, industrial simulation, rescue training, first aid courses and equipment sales.

The business recently launched mobile training units, meaning it can facilitate training sessions at client sites across the country, to meet national demand for its services. Elsewhere, funding has been funnelled into REAX’s innovative marketing strategy, with just one of its popular product focused videos gaining 26,000 views on the business’ YouTube channel.

Keith Parmley, Managing Director at REAX, said:

“When we first set up, securing access to finance was a challenge, but funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund enabled us to accelerate our growth journey quickly. We have expanded significantly from our Blackpool roots, delivering training across the UK with our mobile units. We are now able to offer the complete package, from initial site visits and consultancy to bespoke training, RAMS development, rescue planning and equipment supply.”

Paul Deighton at GC Business Finance, said:

“REAX has shown impressive growth since receiving the NPIF loan back in 2018. Keith’s team have finetuned their services and are now delivering extensive training and consultancy more efficiently to a broader range of clients across the UK. The team continue to work innovatively with different sectors, and we’re pleased to have helped them along the way.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said:

“We are pleased to support the ambitious REAX team with crucial NPIF funding which has helped them scale, as demand for their training programmes have grown significantly. Businesses like REAX clearly demonstrate how, with the right support, microfinance loans can enable companies to make that next big step in their growth journey, by developing their product offerings and increasing employment.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project (NPIF) 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.

About the author

GC Business Finance

GC Business Finance

Established in 2002, GC Business Finance has a proven track record in supporting SMEs. Through our alternative finance products, we help growing businesses, unable to obtain funding through a mainstream lender such as a high street bank, to achieve their goals.