News - 24 October 2013

D2N2 grant helps ambitious Ilkeston firm immediately boost its workforce by a third

A rapidly-growing Ilkeston company has immediately boosted its staff by a third thanks to grant funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – and is set create even more jobs. 

In its second year of trading, FC Laser was set up by Danny Fantom and is an industry leader in laser cutting and associated fabrication services, offering laser cut components to a number of different industries including Aerospace, Motorsport, Retail and General Engineering. 

It has been successful in applying for a grant from D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme (UI4G), which is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. 

The company, which won Most Promising New Business at the Derbyshire’s Best Business Awards last month, received more than £66,000 towards the purchasing and installation costs of a new £320,000 laser cutting machine at its premises, which sit next to the M1 on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border. 

The second machine will provide extra capacity and back-up for “down-time” and has already created four new jobs, to boost staff numbers from 12 to 16, with a further four employee posts to be created by 2016/17. 

FC Laser Managing Director Danny Fantom said: “Without the grant from D2N2’s UI4G programme we wouldn’t have had this new machine, especially this early. It would have taken at least another 12 months before anything could have happened. 

“It has enabled us to employ another four people immediately and they are now in post. It also paves the way for a further four new recruits in the next few years while helping to secure the existing jobs, which is excellent news for us as a firm and for the area. 

“When you are operating with just one machine you are vulnerable in case it breaks down and all production stops. The grant has helped purchase a second laser cutting machine and it takes away that vulnerability. 

IMG 5253

Danny Fantom (holding trophy) celebrates FC Laser winning Most Promising New Business at the Derbyshire’s Best Business Awards

“In turn it helps secure new contracts and new customers, allowing us to continue to grow our business. It has been a very worthwhile process and allowed us to move forward and create jobs much sooner than expected. 

“I would urge other firms in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area to look into UI4G and see if it can benefit their business. It you fit the criteria, it could play a big part in any plans to grow and create jobs.” 

D2N2 Chief Executive David Ralph said: “FC Laser is a young, ambitious business and has demonstrated an ability to grow in a short space of time and the ability to create sustainable jobs. 

“This grant has helped to purchase a second laser cutting machine, cutting out ‘down time’ and the reliance on one machine, which can eradicate the potential risk of failure to deliver on contracts and also enable them to expand their customer base. 

“The company might be in its infancy but it is a rapidly growing, highly-geared business which with the help of UI4G has bridged the funding gap to make this project happen now with new jobs created immediately and more expected in the coming years.” 

With further UI4G applications going through due diligence, the schemes coming to fruition across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire sees D2N2 already working with grant offers to applicants totalling £1.3 million to help create well over 100 long-term jobs and pave the way for many more. 

Dozens more applications are being worked through and EMB Ltd, who manages the programme on behalf of D2N2, has a pipeline of enquiries and would welcome further expressions of interest for capital investment projects that will create long-term sustainable jobs.    

This £5m UI4G programme continues to be open to new applications and has recently been bolstered by a further injection of capital support from the European Regional Development Fund. 

It will release nearly £30m of private investment from local businesses supporting hundreds of jobs. 

While many of these will be in D2N2’s six key sectors of Bio-science, Food & Drink, Construction, Transport Equipment Manufacture, Low Carbon and the Visitor Economy, applications from other sectors creating long-term jobs will also be encouraged. 

The programme will provide a grant in support of capital investment projects with a minimum overall project value of £200,000.  In exceptional circumstances up to £500,000 of grant funding is available for projects that can demonstrate real potential to create new jobs. The process is competitive and applications will be rigorously assessed. 

The main criteria for assessment will be:

  •  Overall strength of business case in terms of deliverability, impact and risk minimisation
  •  Number of new sustainable, private sector jobs created
  •  Level of private sector support investment that is leveraged by the grant funding
  •  Eligibility for Regional Growth Fund support – including State Aid compliance
  •  Value for money 

David Smith, UI4G co-ordinator, said: “If you are working with, or run a business in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire with a capital investment project that will create long-term sustainable jobs but can’t quite raise the capital necessary to purchase the assets required, then UI4G may be for you.” 

For more information go to or email or call 01332 826366.

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