ESIF Loan Sweetens Sephra Europe’s Plans

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

AWARD-winning Fife business, Sephra Europe is making big waves in the commercial Chocolate Fountain industry and a financial boost from an East of Scotland Investment Fund (ESIF) loan has helped to preserve the flow.  The fund is administered by Business Gateway Fife, on behalf of Fife Council Economic Development.  Their growth advisers are available to support businesses to consider all the options to allow sustainable expansion and growth. 

Operational since 2008 and based in Kirkcaldy, Sephra has become the world's most trusted distributor of Commercial Chocolate Fountains, Waffle Bakers, Crepe Machines, Popcorn Machines, Fondue Chocolate, Consumables, Mixes and Supplies.

The business employs nine people and is led by charismatic managing director, David Archer. Initially, the business had two partners at the helm and following a change in structure the company worked closely with Business Gateway Fife advisers and was given access to a £45,000 East of Scotland Investment Fund (ESIF) loan. 

Councillor Lesley Laird, Depute Council Leader and spokesperson for Economy and Planning commented: 

“Sephra Europe is an excellent example of a local business achieving major global distribution success through good leadership and innovative product development.  Accessing an ESIF loan has enabled David and his team to take the company forward and realise their business goals.

“Earlier this year, Sephra Europe picked up the prestigious accolade of Export Achievement of the Year 2015 at the Fife Business Awards demonstrating their success in exporting and commitment to continued growth in their international business.  This is a fantastic commendation and I wish them every success in the future.”

David Archer explained:

“The ESIF loan facilitated a buy-out from a business partnership which had come to a natural end.  This enabled the business to become leaner.  It certainly improved our cash flow, giving us working capital to reinvest in product development and expand our distribution markets world-wide, especially into previously untapped markets in Russia and the Middle East.  It was the ideal financial solution for the business at that time.”

He added:  “We have continued to expand our e-commerce and mail order business, undertaking more than 11000 transactions per year, selling both direct and through a network of distributors in over 40 countries to consumers and professionals within the hospitality industry.  Our high levels of customer service and competitive prices have been a key factor in the success of the business.”

In a latest development, Sephra Europe is working with supermarket giant, ASDA, to supply a self-service popcorn maker which is a massive opportunity for the Fife business.  Sephra already supplies Pizza Hut with waffle making equipment and mixes.

As established ‘fountaineers’, Sephra’s Kirkcaldy depot is home to a service, repair and parts service for Sephra products in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It also offers private labelling and bespoke fun food product development.  Product innovation is at the heart of Sephra’s business and is crucial to its continued success in the future.   The team is constantly monitoring trends, researching and developing new quality products to keep Sephra Europe at the forefront in their industry.

All types of businesses can apply for an ESIF loan and it can provide up to 50 per cent of the funding package required to help start up, sustain and grow a business.

For more information on accessing an ESIF loan, contact Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333 or download an application form from www.eastscotinvest.co.uk

For more information on Sephra Europe check out www.sephraeurope.com