Software investment

The South West Loans Fund has awarded £150,000 to high-tech software company, T-Plan, to support its expansion plans and create eight new jobs.



The firm, which is based on the Tolvaddon Energy Park in Cornwall, received the money as part of a £10m fund set up by South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) to help viable businesses in the region gain access to finance.



Stephen Bohane, head of business development for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: ‘T-Plan is exactly the sort of business the loan fund was set up to support.


‘It has excellent products and a growing international blue-chip client base, but like many companies in the current market it needs help accessing finance.’



T-Plan employs 11 full-time staff to provide software testing for clients including the Bank of England, Virgin Mobile, BAE Systems and Xerox.


This is the first investment to be made from the fund since it was launched in May, and the company expects to put the money towards staff recruitment and the launch of a new product over the next two years.



Steve Marshall, chief executive of T-Plan, said: ‘I strongly believe that Cornwall should be the home of software in the UK our very own Silicon Valley.


‘With a great working environment, sensible cost base and the ability to sell products globally through broadband at the push of a button, Cornwall has the perfect opportunity to develop a vibrant new industry sector.


‘I’m delighted that T-Plan is one of the first companies in the region to benefit from this valuable new source of working capital that will enable us to maximise new market opportunities.’



The South West RDA is contributing £3.75m to the fund and the European Regional Development Fund is investing £2.5m through its competiveness programme and £3.75m though its convergence programme.



John Berry, chief executive of South West Investment Group, the firm overseeing the funding, said: ‘£600,000 of loans have been approved so far and other announcements will follow once contracts have been signed.


‘We are targeting investment at those businesses with real potential to make a difference to the regional economy and have been impressed by the quality of proposals coming forward to our fund managers.’