A Hull company which helps businesses reduce their energy bills has secured a £150,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), to help it meet increased demand.
River Business Services (River) provides gas and electricity contracts and telecoms services from a range of suppliers, and helps companies to compare rates to find the cheapest deal. It also conducts energy audits and offers expert advice on how to reduce energy usage, as well as installing renewables such as solar panels.
The company was founded by brothers Ashley and Guy Hunter in 2017. Previously, the pair owned Nexus Hull Telecoms business before exiting as part of a national buy-out of the company in 2016.
River, which currently employs ten staff, serves businesses of all sizes, including chemicals giant Brenntag UK and RMC Digital Print in Hull. The funding will enable it to expand its team with the creation of six new jobs in the year ahead.
Guy Hunter, co-founder at River Business Services, said: “The rising cost of energy is not only painful for consumers, it is also having a major impact on businesses. With short-term government support now on the table for businesses, it’s crucial to maximise the benefit and fix in rates for budget certainty. We help them get best possible deal in a volatile market, as well as monitoring their usage and finding other ways to cut carbon and costs.
“That might include anything from switching to LED light bulbs and installing solar panels to rearranging shift patterns so they are using energy at the cheapest times of day. We have seen a big increase in demand for our services in recent months and the funding will enable us to increase the size of our team and take on new clients.”
Rebecca Pickering of Mercia added: “Energy is at the top of the business agenda right now. Tackling rising energy bills will be key to the survival of many companies while at the same time consumers and shareholders are demanding companies reduce their carbon footprint. River Business Services helps businesses to tackle these challenges and the funding will enable it to extend its support to many more companies.”
Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “NPIF’s impact on businesses has been wide-ranging, providing funding to new staff hires, breaking into new markets and even acquiring new facilities. We are pleased this loan will help River business Services strengthen its team, and go on to support more customers to reduce energy use and cut carbon. This investment demonstrates how funding can make a measurable difference to businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region.”
Andy Jewitt from Specialist Finance Solutions provided fundraising advice to River Business Services.
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.