Posted on Monday 11 November 2013 by Ulster Business

Connect 1

Robin Brown and Matthew Brown, Directors of Connect Telecom, with David McCurley, Senior Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners.

Belfast-based telecoms firm Connect Telecom is set to create nine new jobs and expand into Scotland after securing financing from the Growth Loan Fund.

The company, which is based on the Lisburn Road, said the funding will help create the new positions by the end of March 2014, including customer operations and sales roles.

Finance for the £50m Growth Loan Fund – which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance – has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investor, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee.

Founded in 2007, B2B telecoms company Connect has grown throughout the Northern Ireland market, as well as expanding into the Republic of Ireland and Wales. Currently employing 20 members of staff, the firm plans to use the loan to support expansion into the Scottish market selling mobile, fixed-line and broadband services.

Robin Brown, Sales Director at Connect Telecom, said the deal represented a strong vote of confidence in the firm's potential.

"It has been a long-term goal of Connect Telecom to expand into the Scottish market. Through this carefully planned expansion into a new market, there is a real opportunity to spur growth and secure a sustainable future for Connect Telecom as a leading telecoms provider in the UK and Ireland. We're capable of supplying a full service to business clients of all sizes and this loan will strengthen our ability to acquire and serve new customers," he said.

"Telecoms is a competitive industry, but what's enabled us to stand out is taking a proactive approach to understanding what best suits our customers and carefully tailoring our packages accordingly.

"Working with the team at WhiteRock has been very useful – they have a strong understanding of the market that we're looking to break into and their support is an important underpinning of our ambitions to export our services across the UK."

David McCurley, Senior Investment Manager, WhiteRock Capital Partners, added: "Connect Telecom has succeeded through a rigorous focus on great customer service that has enabled them to consistently expand their business throughout the UK and Ireland.

"This is a great example of the kind of firm that the Growth Loan Fund is seeking to support – they have a clear strategy for growth, a differentiated service offering and they're in a position to create new jobs through the investment."

WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP was established in 2012 to respond to enquiries to the Fund by the consortium of three partners – Strathtay Ventures Ltd, NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers, all of which are authorised and regulated by the FCA.

Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth potential and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors.

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