Loan fund approves first investment


A high-tech software company in Cornwall has received the first loan from the £10 million South West Loans Fund, set up to help viable businesses access finance to support their growth plans.

T-Plan, based on the Tolvaddon Energy Park near Camborne, has received £150k to invest in staff recruitment and the launch of a new product, creating eight new jobs over the next two years.

The loans are among £600k of investments that have been approved since the fund was launched three months ago, and T-Plan is the first company to receive its money. In that time the fund has received more than 200 enquires and almost 80 applications are being progressed.

The £10 million fund was set up by the South West Regional Development Agency to help growth-orientated businesses with viable business plans.

The money is provided by the SWRDA (£3.75m) and the European Regional Development Fund through the ERDF Convergence Programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (£3.75m) and the ERDF Competiveness Programme for the rest of the region (£2.5m).

Stephen Bohane, head of business development for the SWRDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “T-Plan is exactly the sort of business the loan fund was set up to support. They have excellent products and a growing international blue-chip client base but like many companies in the current market they need help accessing finance.”

T-Plan was founded in 1990 and specialises in testing software to help clients get the most from their IT systems. The business employs 11 full time staff and clients include the Bank of England, Virgin Mobile, BAe Systems and Xerox.

Chief executive Steve Marshall said: “I strongly believe that Cornwall should be the home of software in the UK, our very own Silicon Valley. With a great working environment, sensible cost base and the ability to sell products globally through broadband at the push of a button, Cornwall has the perfect opportunity to develop a vibrant new industry sector and I’m delighted that T-Plan is one of the first companies in the region to benefit from this valuable new source of working capital that will enable us to maximise new market opportunities.”