North-East Fife food processing equipment maker Foodmek is activating an ambitious growth plan after securing £500,000 funding for it from the Scottish Loan Scheme (SLS), part of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme.
The Tayport-based manufacturer of food processing equipment and access platforms to some of the largest food producers in the UK and beyond aims to use the loan from the SLS, which is administered by the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, to double its turnover and increase its workforce significantly.
The loan, £300,000 of which comes in the immediate first tranche, will enable Foodmek to invest in new equipment, innovation and additional skilled engineers in its design office and factory operations. One of the design innovation items enabled by the loan will be to develop a single short filler for display at trade shows – to support Scottish small food manufacturing companies as they expand their operations.
Investing in its people is at the heart of the 48-year-old private company’s renaissance strategy masterminded by Managing Director, Scot Kelly. The GE veteran’s plan includes recruiting and training more highly-skilled engineers through apprenticeships in order to boost innovation for the first time in its history. “We are investing in people to get into innovation in a big way,” says Scot. “They are the cornerstone of our strategy.”
Foodmek has already shown its commitment to its existing and future staff by signing up to the Scottish Business Pledge – which commits it to nine key promises including paying the Real Living Wage, no inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts, action to address the gender pay gap, investing in a skilled and diverse workforce, workforce engagement and community support.
The firm is already meeting those pledges through initiatives including supporting staff through Graduate, Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships and engaging with the Fife Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) team to boost employability support for local schools.
As part of Fife Business Week, Foodmek will help judge the Raytheon quadcopter challenge for 10 nearby schools as part of its supporting for its local community in Fife.
Foodmek’s Business Development Manager Ross Waite is also an example of the firm ‘walking its talk’ – having been recruited into the role as a development opportunity in June this year.
The loan’s second instalment of £200,000 will be paid by Scottish Enterprise if Foodmek meets agreed targets by May 31 next year. Foodmek is also a member of CeeD’s ‘Growth 500’ group.
Speaking further about the good news, Scot Kelly, said: “We are naturally delighted to receive this vote of confidence in the future of Foodmek from the Scottish Loan Scheme.
“When I arrived at the company I was struck by the excellent quality of its staff, many of whom have served it well for decades. Our aim is to create a renaissance for Foodmek by forming the new generation of highly-skilled staff using internally-generated cutting-edge research and development to create sector-leading innovation in order to win new customers across existing and new sectors. This investment has pressed the start button on this exciting journey.
“Over time we see Foodmek spurring the economy of Tayport and beyond and attracting skilled people to the area.”
Kerry Sharp, Director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Foodmek is an excellent example of a forward-thinking and progressive Scottish business. We are particularly impressed with its collaborative and innovative culture and its desire to develop its people as well as its products. We fully support Foodmek’s growth plans and hope this investment helps the company realise its ambitions.”
Pamela Stevenson, Enterprise & Business Development Manager at Fife Council added: “This is great news for Scot and the team. Their resilience and growth ambitions are a superb accolade of their commitment to develop the business, the workforce and support the economy of Fife in doing so.”