Digital business planning next phase of growth after £100k loan

Simon Leeming

A Manchester digital marketing agency is aiming to maintain its growth curve following a £100,000 loan from NPIF-River & GC Microfinance, which GC Business Finance (GCBF) manages in partnership with River Capital as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Digital Media Stream was founded in 2011 by Simon Leeming and Dave Watson, after working in sales at an American software company together.

It combines their sales experience with marketing and the business quickly achieved strong growth.

The business initially secured an £18,000 Start Up Loan through the British Business Bank and delivered by GCBF in 2014. Using the loan to help scale the business, the team has also utilised a number of other services through the Growth Company, having recently attended workshops organised by the Growth Hub.

In 2023, the firm acquired Bespoke Digital, a marketing agency with more than 20 years’ experience in digital marketing. Subsequently, the team grew to 22 people, along with implementing a new management structure.

To further scale the business, the Digital Media Stream team worked closely with GCBF, helping to guide them through the application process. This allowed the company to focus on integrating both businesses seamlessly.

With the NPIF loan in place, Digital Media Stream has ambitious plans for the future and is looking to increase its revenue to £2m.

The business also plans to further invest in its talent and technology, building on the increased skillset it gained from the acquisition of Bespoke Digital.

Simon Leeming said: “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved since founding Digital Media Stream in 2011. The last year has been particularly exciting for us, with the acquisition of Bespoke Digital and the expansion of our team. To allow us to continue delivering on our market-leading proposition, it was clear additional funding was needed.”

Andy Nichols, senior loan manager at GC Business Finance, said: “The growth Digital Media Stream has achieved since receiving a Start Up Loan is incredible. Since working with the business in its early stages, the teams’ entrepreneurial spirit and determination was clear, so I am pleased that we have been able to support them again.”

Keira Shepperson, director at the British Business Bank, said: “This is an excellent example of Northern talent flourishing and exemplifies why it is so important to invest in regional support.”