A Birmingham publisher of educational magazines and books has become one of the first beneficiaries of Birmingham City Council’s £10 million loan fund announced last year.

Imaginative Minds, based at the Custard Factory, publishes seven magazines and more than 200 book titles as well as distributing a range of educational books published by authors from around the world.

The company, which employs 12 full-time staff, has received £100,000 from the fund, which was set up to help successful businesses in the city which are unable to access finance from traditional sources.

Loans of between £50,000 and £1 million are available through the fund, which is being administrated by Investbx.

After expressing an interest in the loan, Imaginative Minds worked closely with Investbx who guided them through the application process to a successful approval.

Owner Howard Sharron said: “Although we’ve been in business since 1999, it’s really been in the last three years that things have taken off to the extent that it’s important we expand as a company.

“Despite the fact we’ve been doing well, it’s virtually impossible to get finance from traditional sources at the moment without security.

“The Birmingham City Council Loan Fund has provided us with £100,000 which we will use to develop and promote our range of subscription titles over the next few years.

“This support has been vital as we may have been unable to access the necessary finance to press ahead with our plans to grow.”

Councillor Neville Summerfield, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Everybody is aware of the difficulties businesses have faced in securing finance to support their growth plans as a result of the economic downturn.

“Many companies, despite being profitable and successful, have in recent times been unable to get loans necessary to expand and grow through no fault of their own.

“This is why the loan fund was set up and we are delighted that Imaginative Minds was among the first companies to successfully apply for support.

“Viable companies like this, which are thriving despite the challenging economic times, need the right support and we are looking forward to working to provide more assistance locally to help firms expand and diversify,” coun Summerfield added.

Terms and conditions for each investment entered into with the city council, including repayment periods, will differ from loan to loan although they are broadly in line with similar products currently available in the wider marketplace.

To help smaller businesses seeking investments of between £1,000 and £50,000, Birmingham City Council has put further financial support into a £2 million fund to be delivered through investment specialists ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust) and Arrow.