LEP springs into action with grant for Harrogate Water Brands
Harrogate Water Brands is the independent owner of top-five bottled water brand, Harrogate Spring Water and water charity Thirsty Planet. With support from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the business is expanding operations and investing in equipment that is the first of its kind in the UK.
The company has recently entered a new era with the opening of its new £6m bottling line, part of an £8m new installation, which features state-of-the-art bottling equipment. The investment follows a substantial grant from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s Business Growth Programme which is supported by the governments Regional Growth Fund.
As well as enjoying a buoyant UK market, the company was also seeing increased interest from overseas clients who had a thirst for the ‘Britishness’ of the brand. Whilst nearing capacity servicing its existing portfolio of clients, Harrogate Water Brands recognised the opportunities existing within the market and the requirement to expand in order to future-proof the business.
Harrogate Water Brands raised almost all the capital required for the new installation, but was left with a funding gap. Steve Burnett, Harrogate Water Brands’ Financial Director was aware of the support the LEP was offering businesses. He explains “I first attended a seminar for the launch of the Business Growth Programme in early 2013, so potential funding was always on our agenda. However, we had to identify what we could raise from other sources first.”
World-leading technology widens international market
The new 23,000 sq ft extension doubles the existing area and houses the new line as well as some warehousing. The first of its kind in the UK, the revolutionary Krones Ergobloc production line will quadruple output, allowing the company to start to exploit its enviable 320 million litres available for abstraction.
The design of the line is optimized to ensure maximum efficiency and minimum footprint. Running at 36,000 bottles an hour, it is more than capable of now meeting the increasing demand from overseas; particularly from Russia, China, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, where they have agreed an exclusive partnership agreement to supply the region’s largest Hypermarket ‘Lulu’.
28 new jobs to spring from investment
The £430,000 grant has immediately helped to create six new jobs, with the figure projected to rise to 28 new positions in production, sales, marketing and accounts, almost doubling the workforce.
“The LEP is really demonstrating its support for businesses in the region” enthused Steve. “For a business like us which is growing rapidly, it’s the right kind of funding that can help us reach the next stage in our expansion plans. The LEP were there when we needed them. They were approachable and supportive.”
Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP commented:
“We are delighted that this funding has enabled excellent employment opportunities for local people and we look forward to continuing our work with Harrogate Water Brands to explore further Apprenticeship and Exporting support.
“Through the Local Growth Fund announced this month, we are delighted that a further £18m of funding has been committed to continue the successful Business Growth Programme which has already supported over 250 businesses and created over 2,000 across the entire City Region.
“Having additional funding to support thriving businesses in the region, like Harrogate Water Brands, enables the LEP to take forward its ambition to create above trend economic growth and position the Leeds City Region as an economic powerhouse in the north.”