A glass of mulled wine was on hand for growing businesses who celebrated their continuing success at the Advantage Early Growth Fund conference.
The celebration tipple was supplied by Eliot's, a Worcestershire firm which patents a dispenser that heats up alcoholic beverages - and which can be found at around 2,500 pub and club premises across the UK.
Eliot's, started in 1997 by managing director Ian Elliott and co-director Mark Lee, attracted £100,000 of venture capital support from the AEGF in July 2005, as part of a £ 250 , 000 equity fundraising.
The company, which employs six people at its base at Hanley Childe, near Tenbury Wells, aims to increase its installed dispenser base to more than 7,000 sites.
Ian Elliott, of Eliot's, said: "The company has gone from strength to strength and the investment from the Advantage Early Growth Fund has enabled the development and manufacture of a new dispenser allowing the company to expand its customer base and sales in the coming winter .
"In the first year of trade, we supplied three pubs. We now supply around 2,500 and this will rise to over 7,000 this winter.
" We also supply the catering trade, major venues such as winter icerinks at Warwick Castle, Hampton Court and Somerset House - and alternative drinks, such as Whisky Hot Toddy, are popular at Twickenham and Murrayfield." The dispenser is provided on free loan to the pub, on condition the mulled wine is bought from Eliot's.
With investments ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 and averaging about £75,000, the AEGF has invested a total of £1.8 million in 24 companies in under two years. Its investee company conference is an annual networking event staged at the Lea Marston Hotel and Leisure Complex, Lea Marston, Warwickshire.
Kevin Caley, manager of the AEGF, said: "The continuing success of the investee companies speaks volumes for the achievements of a new breed of entrepreneurs working in the region. "Small, successful businesses are the lifeblood of the region and Eliot's is an excellent example.
"Though early in the investment cycle a number of the Fund's investments are beginning to fulfill their potential potential - TMG, in Bromsgrove, is now quoted on AIM.
"In addition to our close working relationship with Advantage Business Angels, evidence suggests the AEGF is now recognised as an important source of equity funding. An increasing number of companies are approaching us from investment readiness programmes and from our own website."
The £5 million AEGF - part of the Advantage West Midlands extensive Access to Finance initiative - is a venture capital coinvestment fund set up to assist early stage businesses that have growth potential.