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CUTTING EDGE FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS DEVELOPED WITH TECH FUNDING SUPPORT

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CUTTING EDGE

Sedgefield company PragmatIC has propelled itself into world leadership with its ultra low cost and thin flexible integrated circuits, supported by a grant from Digital Drive County Durham, which provides events, one to one business support and grants.

Powered by UMi, a grant from the Digital Drive County Durham programme has enabled PragmatIC to further develop its unique technology platform for flexible integrated circuits. These FlexICs are thinner than a human hair and ideal for introducing intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of everyday products, such as consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

The grant helped to accelerate the company’s advances in the data capture and analytics used in its manufacturing plant.  More than half of the company’s 80 members of staff are based at the manufacturing plant, based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield.

Gillian Ewers, vice president of marketing at PragmatIC, said: “The Digital Drive County Durham programme was a very simple programme to join, the application process was very smooth, and it enabled us to quickly advance our project. The grant meant we could bring in additional resources, and as a result we reduced the time to complete this phase of development by six months.

“Having an inlay with a PragmatIC FlexIC embedded into the packaging of a product means that it can be assigned a unique identity,” said Gillian. “With a simple tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone, consumers can gain access to additional information, such as legible advice for medicines or allergy information for food.

“The rapid design and implementation of robust data capture and analytic processes is critical to enable us to reach our challenging goals of having a trillion FlexICs manufactured close to where they will be required around the world to meet local demand and shorten supply chains.

“In the future, we will add sensors, which will enable more applications, for example making sure a product is being stored at the right temperature, or even checking if it is still okay to use,” Gillian said. “It would be a real step forward if we could use this technology to do things like reducing food waste.”

Andrea McGuigan from Business Durham, said:

“Business Durham is delighted that PragmatIC has taken advantage of the Digital Drive grant to develop this leading edge technology.  The programme was developed to support SMEs in County Durham to make better use of technology in their business and PragmatIC is a prime example of what the project can help businesses to achieve.

“I wish PragmatIC every success with its new and innovative technology and hope that their story convinces other businesses to take advantage of the support Digital Drive County Durham offers.”

 

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NutreeLife triples production with finance from Siemens Financial Services

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Plant-based snack manufacturer NutreeLife has massively increased its production capacity with the help of a hire purchase solution from Siemens Financial Services (SFS).

Founded in 2017, NutreeLife is a rapidly growing company which produces vegan protein bars, snacks and other healthy vegan products. Following a significant increase in demand, the manufacturer wanted to invest in a new production line.

As Patrick Mroczak, MD and CEO at NutreeLife Ltd explains, “We were ready to invest in the next stage of business development. We needed new equipment to meet demand but we also wanted to preserve our cash flow to deal with the volatility of the pandemic.”

To protect the business’ working capital, SFS suggested a hire purchase arrangement. Under the agreement, NutreeLife could acquire the equipment immediately and with no upfront costs. Instead, SFS tailored the arrangement so that the company could spread the cost over 5 years in regular payments and at the end of the arrangement NutreeLife will automatically own the equipment outright.

Under the hire purchase solution, the manufacturer also met the conditions for the UK government’s super-deduction tax initiative, whereby a company investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets is able to claim 130% of the equipment’s value in year one.

“As a relatively new business, it’s not always easy to gain access to the right finance at a good price but SFS were incredibly accommodating. They really understood the benefit of the technology for our business and helped us unlock the investment,” adds Mroczak.

With the new equipment and technology installed, NutreeLife has been able to triple its production and turnover, and expand operations in tow.

“Despite the ups and downs of the pandemic, the new production line has helped us to keep things moving. As demand rises we’ve been able to take on much more staff and use our working capital towards stockpiling raw materials when needed.”

And the business’ success has not gone unnoticed. NutreeLife was awarded Small Business of the Year at the 2021 Lancashire’s Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs).

“Working with SFS has truly opened up news avenues of business for us. The team is so fast and responsive and clearly dedicated to finding the best solution for our machinery needs,” comments Mroczak.

Kirsty Talmage-Rostron, Business Development Manager – UK South at Siemens Financial Services comments, “It’s always exciting to work with an innovative award-winning manufacturer like NutreeLife. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’ve been able to help the business rapidly develop and look forward to continuing to support this growth strategy as the business expands into new markets.”

 

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HYDR DEVELOPS INVOICE FINANCE PLATFORM TO INTEGRATE WITH MAJOR CLOUD ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE PROVIDERS

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MANCHESTER – UK – 17th January 2022 – Fintech start-up, Hydr has developed its proprietary invoice finance platform to integrate with more major cloud accounting software providers including Sage and QuickBooks.

After launching exclusively with Xero in May, the Hydr platform can now be accessed by millions more SMEs in the UK who want to leverage their unpaid invoices to optimise cash flow and help fuel their growth.

Users of Sage, FreeAgent, KashFlow, QuickBooks and Xero who sign up with Hydr can get paid almost immediately for the work they have completed and invoiced, rather than having to wait out long payment terms and even having to consider extending their borrowings to maintain working capital.

Customers who link their account to the Hydr platform can expect a class-leading, seamless integration. No duplication of data is needed, they simply continue to raise their invoices with their cloud accounting provider as normal and Hydr will do the rest, funding approved invoices within 24 hours.

Hydr co-founder, Nicola Weedall said, “We’re so pleased to have achieved this product milestone. The impact of long payment terms and late payments is affecting millions of small businesses in the UK; many are navigating CBILS repayments and ramping up post-Covid trading which can put a strain on working capital. We feel so strongly that getting paid early is the best way of optimising cash flow, far better than extending borrowings.”

Hydr co-founder, Hector Macandrew said, “Invoice finance in years gone by has often been complicated and time consuming to apply for, complex to manage and opaque in pricing. It is absolutely ripe for disruption and cloud accounting and open banking has made this reinvention achievable. With our simple, transparent and fairly priced proposition, it is now more accessible and attractive to small businesses than ever. We encourage more businesses to consider it.”

Hydr helps small businesses optimise their cash flow with fully digital onboarding that takes just 15 minutes. Hydr’s platform connects with a company’s data and financial information creating a seamless digital experience without the need for the company to submit any additional paperwork. Funding decisions are given in real time and Hydr pays 100% of the value of an invoice (rather than the traditional 70-90%) within 24 hours, minus a transparent, fairly priced fixed fee. Once quoted, the fee never, ever changes and includes credit insurance.

Hydr works with small businesses registered in England in Wales that sell products or services to other businesses (B2B).

 

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