A Sheffield animation studio which has won international acclaim is expanding with the help a £100,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Red Star 3D creates its own films which are shown in cinemas, theme parks, museums and other venues. Its most recent creation, StarDog and TurboCat, opened in cinemas last December and is currently available on Amazon.

Founded in 2004 by Ben Smith and Jan Rogowski, Red Star is recognised as one of the leading independent studios of its type worldwide and has won dozens of awards and nominations at film festivals. It is now expanding its services to produce work for film companies worldwide and has already won one major contract.

The company, which currently employs 10 people, is planning to create an additional 40 jobs in the next two years. The  loan from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will help to fund its growth and its recruitment plans.

Ben Smith, co-founder, said: “We’re delighted Mercia have chosen to support our expansion plans. While this is a challenging time for many business owners, demand for our animation production services is booming. The funding will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities it brings.”

Pete Sorsby, Investment Manager with Mercia, said: “Red Star Entertainment is a successful studio with a strong management team and a worldwide reputation for its work. The funding will enable it to take on new projects and create new skilled jobs to expand Sheffield’s growing digital sector.”

Mark Wilcockson at the British Business Bank, said: “Since its launch in 2017, NPIF’s impact on businesses has been wide-ranging, providing funding to launch new products, employ new staff, enter new markets and acquire new facilities. We are pleased that NPIF is supporting this growing Sheffield based digital company and providing vital investment to to unlock the North’s growth potential

Red Star received fundraising advice from Dan Wilkinson of Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Access to Finance, while Steven Crookes of Knowles Warwick accountants provided advice on the investment.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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