• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, with INFINITY27 founder and managing director Dan Baird

A North East immersive games design studio is diversifying into new markets after securing a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

INFINITY27 was set up in 2020 as a design studio providing games, immersive VR and AR and real-time 3D solutions to a range of clients across the UK.

Based at the PROTO advanced digital production facility in Gateshead, INFINITY27 has now adapted its expertise to create bespoke Skills Bootcamps funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

The ‘Interactive Real-Time 3D (iRT3D) Bootcamp‘ combines live project work with tailored on-the-job professional development, and helps people in England aged 19 and over develop the skills and knowledge they need to be able to take high-skilled, high-paid jobs in the games and immersive technology industries.

INFINITY27 is now using the £25,000 Small Loan Fund investment, which was obtained through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, to expand its capacity to deliver more Skills Bootcamps and win new business outside its home region.

INFINITY27 has so far provided 70 high-quality, work-based professional development placements to students, graduates, career changes and T-Level students from a number of different backgrounds.

It has also worked with a number of North East colleges, including Sunderland College, New College Durham and Gateshead College, to help shape the content and impact of the Skills Bootcamp offering, with each one coming with high-quality training and a guaranteed interview for an open role in the games or immersive industry.

It is looking to complete at least 100 placements during 2023, with new jobs expected to follow as the number grows.

INFINITY27 founder and managing director Dan Baird says: “The Skills Bootcamp aims to bridge the gap between the theory that students are learning in the classroom and the practical, professional and management skills they’ll need if they choose to enter our industry.

“Knowing how and where to apply their knowledge, how to work collaboratively with others and how to manage projects from inception to conclusion will prepare them for taking on high-skilled jobs, whether within or outside the North East, or working remotely with employers anywhere around the world.

“The live project work that we can offer as part of the Skills Bootcamp is unique in our industry and the feedback we’re getting on from both students and colleges has been extremely positive.

“Our focus for 2023 is on increasing the number of placements that we complete and rolling out the programme to more learners and businesses      across England, and thanks to this investment, we now have the resources in place to achieve these goals.

“We were looking for investment capital that would support our long-term growth plans, rather than trying to achieve too much too quickly, and it made sense to work with the supportive NEL team who took the time to properly understand our ambitions.”

Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The North East knowledge economy very much punches above its weight and this is another example of regional insight and ingenuity having a positive impact on a much wider scale.

“The INFINITY27 team is applying first-hand knowledge to help young people find a way into their fast-expanding industry and building an important new revenue stream for themselves at the same time.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.