MSIF £70k loan helps climbing wall business scale new heights

Sam Oxford, Steve Hitchen, Sue Chambers, Antony White

A new Ellesmere Port-based climbing facility has won £70,000 of funding from Liverpool-based investment agency MSIF.

This is in addition to a £30,000 start-up loan MSIF helped the firm win.

Boulder Hut was opened by Sam Oxford and her partner Antony White in July.

With more than 40 years’ climbing experience between them, it was a move the couple had been planning for a while.

Although the firm was incorporated in 2016, finding the right location proved difficult.

To kick-start the funding process the directors approached Steve Hitchen at the MSIF Finance Hub, which helped Boulder Hut with their business plan and financial forecasts for an investment proposition and, assisted them on successfully receiving the £30,000 start-ip loan.

Due to the complexity of the development, Boulder Hut needed additional support to finish the project.

Through further conversations with MSIF, Sue Chambers, MSIF investment manager, was able to facilitate a further £70,000 loan to bridge the gap in the remaining funds.

Boulder Hut, in the Olympic Park, Ellesmere Port, is anticipated to be a great success, with mountaineering becoming increasingly popular in recent years.

There are divided zones for both children and adults climbing, with a further dedicated space for training.

The adult area consists of slab climbing, overhanging and cave areas where guests can perfect their bouldering skills under the guidance of trained professionals.

The 17,000 sq ft complex also has a vegan and vegetarian café to provide some healthy re-fuel after hours spent working up an appetite.

Sue Chambers, MSIF investment manager, said: “It has been a delight to work with both Sam and Antony. Their vision has created a fun and dynamic establishment with great facilities for children and adults.”

Sam Oxford said: “Both Sue and Steve from MSIF have given us invaluable support from the very beginning. We’ve had great success over the summer holidays with some fantastic feedback from our customers.

“Even our chef, who was a novice climber, is really passionate about it now.

“Over the next few months we will be launching children’s parties and hope to see our experienced climbers pay us a visit to maintain their skill throughout the winter. It’s a very exciting time for us.”