A specialist construction company is aiming to make an even bigger splash within its industry after securing a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

GWSS specialises in the installation, removal, maintenance and repair of large sectional water storage tanks, which range from one thousand to one million litres in size and which are used in locations where the provision of water isn’t based on a mains supply, such as hotels, factories, hospitals and universities.

The Gosforth-based firm has worked on a wide range of projects right across the UK and overseas, and was recently called in to install the 90,000 litre water tank at the new Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland.

GWSS worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £30,000 investment, which will be used to help the business scale up and increase its capacity to take on more and bigger projects.

It will also assist with bringing in new equipment and implementing safety training for the new team members that will be recruited as the business grows, the first of whom is already now in post.

Eric Armstrong of Armstrong & Co Accountants in Newcastle recommended NEL Fund Managers and the Small Loan Fund to GWSS.

The business was founded in 2014 by experienced engineer Steven Walters, who has worked on major water tank projects as far afield as Tanzania, Qatar, Kazakhstan and the Falkland Islands.

It predominantly works across the North East and North West, but is looking to build its presence in Scotland as part of its expansion.

Steve Walters says: “We’ve grown steadily over the last five years and have built a healthy industry reputation for the professionalism of our team and the quality of the work that we do.

“The one million litre tank that we installed took a month to put in place and involved thousands of rivets being sealed, but we managed to get the job done without it springing a single leak.

“Our plan to work directly with more clients on bigger projects, rather than as a sub-contractor as we often do now, means having additional equipment and staff resources in place to ensure we can fulfil their requirements.

“We know that, even in the present challenging climate, there are still a lot of project opportunities out there and we’re confident that we’ll be able to keep growing the business as we’d planned.

“The investment option offered by NEL suited our business model and the team made the process of applying for it very straightforward.”

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 £50,000 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.

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “GWSS has built an impressive track record in a very demanding and specialised sector and now has the resources in place it needs for the next stages of its growth plans.”

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 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.