Funding boost for product designers bringing creativity and jobs to former colliery site

A product development consultancy which is generating new jobs on a former colliery site is set for further growth following a £100,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Sheffield-based AME Group is one of the UK’s leading independent product design consultancies and is behind many best-selling products, from Dettol soap and Morphy Richards food steamers to Harris paint brushes and B&Q Performance power tools.

The company was set up in 1996 from Ian Jones’ kitchen table after he was made redundant from his job with British Coal. Ian was soon joined by Paul Howell, Managing Director. Based on the site of the former Dinnington Colliery, AME now employs over 20 staff and has a turnover of around £1.5m.

It is one of a few firms of its type outside London with a blue-chip client base and the company also offers in-house rapid prototyping using the latest 3D print technology. AME services span sectors from fast-moving consumer goods to medical and automotive and customers including Dyson, Smith & Nephew, GlaxoSmithKline, Hornby and Unilever. The company now plans to strengthen its design team by creating multiple roles over the next 12 months.

Pete Sorsby, Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Managers, said: “AME has built its business on the strength of its product design process and is regarded as one of the UK’s leading and most innovative product design consultancies. The business has helped to bring creativity to the former colliery site and generate new jobs. This funding will help to support its growth and expand the team.”

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “SMEs like AME Group form the foundation of the region’s future growth and we are pleased to be able to support these businesses by providing the growth finance required. We will continue to work with our fund managers and the wider business community to support creative and innovative businesses across the Sheffield City Region.”

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.