Funding helps pizza oven maker get a bigger slice of the market

A Leeds start-up that manufactures catering equipment has secured a £170,000 loan to help it meet piping hot demand for outdoor pizza ovens.

Huey Group has raised the funding from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). The loan will allow it to step up production by moving to larger premises and invest in new machinery. The company, which has grown staff numbers from eight to 22 since last September, also plans to create a further five jobs in the coming months.

Huey Group was founded in late 2019 by Martin Wilson, who had previously worked in the industry, and two former colleagues after spotting the trend for converting horseboxes into mobile catering units. They started to build new vintage-style units and soon won orders from the National Trust and Aintree Racecourse.

The company has since diversified into pizza ovens and now manufactures on behalf of one of the market leaders, DeliVita. Most recently, it has won a contract to make Japanese-style grills on behalf of another leading brand, after it decided to bring manufacturing back to the UK.

Martin Wilson, the CEO, said: “We are delighted to have a very strong order book for the year ahead but with such rapid growth, our existing premises are bursting at the seams. Without help from NPIF, we would have been unable to meet the level of demand and take on new work. The funding will allow us to increase production, reduce lead times and take the business to the next level.”

Gary Whitaker from Mercia added: “Martin and the team are passionate about manufacturing and have built a reputation for quality products. Despite launching at an inopportune time – just before the pandemic – they have been able to take advantage of the trend for outdoor entertaining. The loan will enable them to expand the business and create new manufacturing jobs – and not only in their own company, but also with their suppliers in the region.”

Sean Hutchinson of British Business Bank said: “It is excellent to see  northern based, British manufacturers like Huey Group secure NPIF funding. It is impressive to see a business starting up just prior to the pandemic and  almost trebling staff numbers in less than a year. This vital funding will support  further growth and employment, and help the Huey Group team with their growth ambitions.. NPIF is here to support businesses at every stage of their journey with various funding options.”

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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