Funding to fuel overseas expansion

I for Design directors David and Jennie Elderkin

A Cornish business leading the way in environmentally-friendly cork products has received further funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), managed by The FSE Group, to support its continued growth. The £100k loan is supporting expansion into the US and across Europe.

With its core merchandise made from offcuts of cork from the bottle manufacturing process, I for Design creates a range of natural, environmentally friendly homeware products under its LIGA brand and as white label items. LIGA products are stocked in many independent boutiques and garden centres throughout the UK, plus by well-known names such as The Eden Project, John Lewis and National Trust.

Since receiving its first CIOSIF loan of £80k four years ago, and despite the pandemic affecting retail trading during that time, I for Design has grown significantly and was recently ranked 23rd in the Fast Growth 50 index for 2023. With a well-established presence in the UK retail market, the company is now expanding internationally.

Director David Elderkin said: “Our ethical and environmentally conscious brand resonates with consumers and we’ve seen continued interest from both large and small retailers. Since our first CIOSIF loan we have gone from stocking around 200 stores to currently over 500 in the UK. We are so pleased to have the continued support of CIOSIF and FSE for this next stage of our growth as we look to launch our products into the US, before focusing on growing our existing customer base in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.”

The £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25k to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It was established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

Funding through CIOSIF comes to an end this month but wider funding is now available through the British Business Bank’s £200 million South West Investment Fund providing loans from £25k to £2 million and equity investment up to £5 million.