A young County Durham entrepreneur is shaping a successful future for his business after securing a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

Antony Gray set up Renovo Solutions last year after working his way up with his previous employer from apprentice to operations director.

Based on the Tanfield Lea Industrial Estate, Renovo is the only CNC-equipped rotary tool manufacturer in the North of England and also helps clients in a range of industries become more efficient and sustainable in their use of materials and machinery.

Antony worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in a £50,000 investment which he is using to bring in new equipment that will expand the range of tools the company is able to manufacture, repair or renew.

The business is aiming to grow in its native North East in the first instance and to take advantage of sub-contracting opportunities across the region.

It is also looking to expand into several new sectors, including the aerospace, medical and energy industries, and expects to create a number of new jobs as the business grows.

Antony Gray says: “We are the only business of our kind in the whole of the north, which opens up a wide range of opportunities, and the growth we’ve already enjoyed is a good indicator of the demand that’s out there.

“The equipment we’re bringing in significantly improves our manufacturing capacity and allows us to take on more and bigger contracts, whether for producing bespoke tools or renewing and extending the working life of existing items.

“Sustainability is a crucial part of our service offering, and alongside the environmental benefits that enabling our clients to make better use of the tools and materials they use, there are cost and time-savings benefits to be had too.

“There’s a big gap in the North East market to fill, which is why we’re concentrating on the region in the first instance, but there’s no reason why our services can’t eventually be rolled out into other parts of the country too.

“NEL were recommended to us, the investment package was exactly right for us and the team gave us every possible support towards getting the deal done.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Renovo is already establishing an impressive reputation in a market where’s there every chance for it to grow quickly, and allying our investment with Anthony’s specialist knowledge makes for a powerful combination.”

The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.