A Birmingham firm helping businesses to cut down on utility bills is on track to triple its order book.
Despite the difficult financial conditions, Digbeth-based ECO-Logic UK is seeing business boom, although it was threatened by cash-flow problems as recently as last year.
The company, which was established in 1997, supplies electronically controlled water saving systems to large companies and institutions.
Business manager David Lloyd said: “When we started out, ours was an idea ahead of its time – a case of ‘tomorrow’s technology today’. We spent the early years trying to open people’s eyes to the enormous potential of the technology.
“By 2006, it was an idea whose time had come and the company was growing.”
But last year the company started to run into cash-flow difficulties, and could not get the support it need from the bank because it did not want to cut staff numbers.
Mr Lloyd added: “We had a record year in 2006 and committed ourselves to a growth cycle, but in early 2007 work slowed down and two major contracts we had negotiated didn’t come in as projected.
“The bank, although extremely supportive, felt it had gone as far as it could in terms of lending, so we were faced with the prospect of letting staff go and limiting our marketing.
“It was a very difficult situation. We had just taken on a new sales and development manager and we really didn’t want to lose him and without marketing, our ability to generate more sales would be restricted.”
After having no luck with the banks, ECO-Logic received a loan from the local Aston Reinvestment Trust, an independent financial service which lends to small and medium businesses and startups who struggle to find funding from banks.
Mr Lloyd said not having to cut staff meant the orders had kept coming in, and many more had been secured because their sales manager had stayed on.
“He has done exceptionally well, and he has freed up our technical director to concentrate on the big projects,” said Mr Lloyd.
“If it wasn’t for ART we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. We have a projected order book of nearly £3 million this year – more than three times last year’s figure.”
Steve Walker, the chief executive of ART, said: “Our remit is to boost the local economy by helping local companies create or safeguard jobs.
“ECO-Logic UK is a classic example of what we are here to do. We adopt a more personal approach to lending than the banks and are more flexible with our terms and conditions.
“If a company does exceptionally well as a result of taking a loan and wishes to repay it early there is no penalty for repayment, unlike other lenders.”