A Nottinghamshire-based creative agency, which drew on its international export expertise to keep the nation safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, has successfully delivered more than 28 million items of personal protective equipment after securing a six figure CBILS loan from lending provider Finance For Enterprise.
CCM Group, which operates from Huthwaite, began sourcing face masks and hand sanitiser during the first national lockdown in February 2020 when a client struggling to obtain sufficient supplies reached out for help. Drawing on their knowledge and existing supply chains in the Far East, they successfully helped the business to overcome the difficulties they were facing, but they quickly realised they weren’t alone in struggling to source the potentially life-saving equipment.
To help others, CCM Group launched a new division within the business, specialising in the supply of a range of products including COVID-19 testing kits, thermometers as well as hand sanitisers and masks. Trading under the name Trusted PPE, the company soon found their services in high demand. Turnover in the business has risen nearly four-fold from £2.6m to £9.5m whilst the company’s workforce has increased from 16 employees to 46. Today, the company is responsible for selling its PPE equipment to organisations working on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19, including local authorities, care homes and the NHS, as well as supplying their goods directly to members of the public.
Despite the success enjoyed, CCM Group quickly realised that demand was outstripping supply. The supply agreements they had in place with their manufacturers meant payment was required prior to manufacture, and with 60-90 days lapsing before supplies arrived in the UK, the company realised additional support would be needed to underpin the company’s cash flow and turned to the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for help.
After spending time researching the government website, and with a quick turnaround time needed to guarantee delivery of their order in time, CCM Group contacted Finance For Enterprise to see if they could help.
Working with experienced Investment Manager Mike Gregg, Finance For Enterprise helped CCM Group to secure £250,000. The loan was agreed within just ten days, enabling Trusted PPE to order enough stock in time to meet demands as Britain entered into its third national lockdown.
With green shoots of recovery and cases of COVID-19 reducing across the UK, the CCM Group is planning to continue developing its export operations and is planning to use the skills and expertise it had developed during the pandemic to diversify its operations as the lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
Trent Peek, Director, CCM Group said:
“CCM Group has been a family run business since 1997. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we undertook a lot of work helping companies to source promotional and print. We knew it was important to diversify our business, and when we received a call from one of our clients asking if we could help to source hand sanitiser, we were able to use our existing supply chains to meet the demand.
“Almost overnight, we saw a surge in demand for the products, so we decided to launch the Trusted PPE brand in April to help other businesses overcome their supply issues. After successfully placing a number of orders, we knew the business concept was viable, but as demand grew, we recognised the delay in between ordering and paying for the manufacture of the products and selling the product to our customers. To support our cash flow, we began to explore whether a CBILS loan could help our business.
“Our Head of Finance spent time researching different businesses, and with a quick turnaround time needed, we contacted Finance For Enterprise to see if they could help. We spoke to our Investment Manager Mike Gregg, and after talking him through our plans, within just ten days the money we needed was in our bank account.
“The application process was simple and straightforward. Mike kept us updated as the application progressed, and as a result of the support we’ve received, we’ve been able to continue meeting demand for PPE equipment. As a result, we have been able to help many organisations who are working in the frontline battle against the virus, including care homes, local authorities and the NHS, enabling them to make significant cost savings. We’ve been able to create additional jobs in our business, and we’ve supplied more than 28 million PPE products to date.”
Mike Gregg, Investment Manager at Finance For Enterprise said:
“It’s not uncommon when procuring goods from overseas for payment to be required at the time the order is placed, but with some time passing between placing the order and being able to sell the goods, they knew the sheer volumes involved would place pressure on the company’s cash flow.
“At Finance For Enterprise, we’ve always tried to help businesses at the times when they need it most. For the CCM Group, this meant accessing the funds needed to meet their commitments with their suppliers quickly.
“The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme was developed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19, and for the CCM Group this presented an opportunity to diversify their existing model. With continued demand, they knew the volumes of PPE equipment needed would place significant short-term pressure on the company’s cash flow and we were able to step in and help.
“CCM Group’s application was supported with a clear business plan and financial forecasts, and as a result, we were able to grant the application within just ten days of receiving their application, enabling the products to reach the frontline as quickly as possible.”
Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans up to £250,000, aimed at supporting SMEs throughout Yorkshire and the North Midlands. The company is a delivery partner for the British Business Bank-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and acts as fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Start Up Loans UK.
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).
CBILS provides facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cash flow. Delivered by the British Business Bank, through 40+ accredited lenders and partners, CBILS will support the continued provision of finance to UK smaller businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.