Fish-based pet products company nets funding to target international growth

A Humber pet food maker which produces treats for dogs is scaling up by relocating to new premises and increasing capacity, helping it target growth in the UK and international pet foods sector.

Grimsby-based Skippers Pet Products approached Finance For Enterprise and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) for investment after the company outgrew its existing facility.

The business had seen turnover increase by 500%, with its workforce growing from eight staff to over 20 employees in the past year.

The company is the only UK pet food provider which specialises exclusively in fish-based products.

It was launched by experienced fish merchant Steve Moore in 2013, after he spotted an opportunity to re-purpose co-products from high quality fish destined for the dinner table.

In recent months, the company has not only seen demand for its products increase within the UK, but also in several overseas markets, notably Canada and Hong Kong.

Working with senior business lending manager Tim Daniels, Finance For Enterprise helped the business secure an investment package worth £150,000, delivered through a £75,000 NPIF – FFE & BEF Microfinance loan backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), and £75,000 directly from Finance For Enterprise.

With funds in place, Skippers relocated to larger premises at South Humberside Industrial Estate, allowing the company to improve efficiencies in its manufacturing processes as well as creating additional working space needed to recruit up to 10 members of staff.

Moore said: “Having firmly established ourselves as a market leader in our industry, we knew that it was important to cement this position.

“Having worked with Tim and the Finance For Enterprise team previously, I felt he understood our business, and within a relatively short period of time, we received the call to say that our application had been successful.

“The funds and help we’ve received have been transformational for our business, and through the support we’ve received from Finance For Enterprise, we’re not just helping to improve the lives of much loved pets across the world, but we’re also doing our bit to improve sustainability, as well as creating additional new jobs within Grimsby’s fishing industry.”

Daniels said: “Skippers Pet Products is a great example of a business that has built on the heritage of Grimsby’s historic fishing industry by finding new and innovative ways of bringing new products to market.

“Having met and supported Steve and his business previously, the business has a bright future ahead of it, not just by achieving growth in the UK, but also tapping into new international markets.

Keira Shepperson at the British Business Bank added: “By supporting businesses like Skippers with the funds to recruit new staff and move to a larger premises, NPIF is one step closer to creating a more prosperous regional economy for the future.

“Skippers is a great example of Northern creativity, finding a unique product that brings specialist fish products to the pet foods industry. As the business looks beyond the UK’s borders to expand, we’re looking forward to celebrating the milestones the team achieves in the future.”

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