Cornwall designers growing sustainable furniture brand with CIOSIF support
A design and manufacturing company producing sustainable furniture for work, education and social spaces has received a £200,000 loan from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, managed by The FSE Group.
Hart Miller Design will use the funds to support the growth of its MARK (Made and Realised in Kernow) Product brand – furniture ranges designed for informal work settings and learning environments that are manufactured in keeping with the company’s sustainability driven ethos.
This Cornish company is well known in the contract furniture industry, with MARK furniture being used in the offices of multinational corporates including the BBC, EY, Fujitsu and Arsenal FC. A key selling point is Hart Miller’s industry-leading, independently assessed “Do Net Good” strategy that they spent three years developing and refining into the robust manufacturing and operating model that defines the business today. The company is also working towards B Corp certification in 2023.
Demand for MARK products is also being driven by changes to workspaces as they evolve to fit the post-covid hybrid model where working from home tends to be for concentration and focus, whilst working from the office is often about collaborative spaces that build brand culture.
Anna Hart, Co-founder of Hart Miller Design, said: “As more large companies seek ethical and sustainable transparency from their suppliers, we are seeing increased demand for our high-quality designs. Our new Otto laptop table received significant pre-orders so building capacity to ensure delivery is central to our growth strategy. It can be difficult to obtain funding based on future sales so we are delighted to have secured this CIOSIF loan, which allows us to increase resources and provides working capital to support new contract wins.”
Tim Williams, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added: “This is a resilient business that has overcome the considerable challenges posed by covid, built a track record for quality and reliability and developed a pipeline of innovative products to meet changing market demand. It is now in a strong position to take advantage of a recovering sector that is increasingly seeking high-calibre products with genuine sustainability credentials.”
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Paul Jones, Senior Investment Manager from the British Business Bank said: “Sustainable growth is part of our core mission and Hart Miller Design is an exemplar business which has embraced the concept of a circular economy and put it into practice. I’m delighted that this CIOSIF loan will further those objectives.”
John Acornley, Chair of the CIOSIF advisory board and former LEP non-executive director, said: “With this CIOSIF investment Hart Miller Design has the team, space, suppliers and experience that puts the company on a trajectory to fulfil its potential as a leading UK provider of contract furniture.”
CIOSIF 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.
For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2