New training, new equipment, a more flexible approach to business and a brand new refrigerated trailer: how Vectis Refrigeration has grown with the support of the IW Lottery
Vectis Refrigeration is celebrating business growth and a new approach to their customers, thanks to the support of the the Isle of Wight Lottery. A year ago, in March 2020, the business received an interest free loan of more than £45,000, to invest in new training, new technology and a brand new refrigerated trailer. Although nobody could have known at the time, the loan was approved and funds were supplied just before the Covid 19 pandemic hit. The funding has since enabled Vectis Refrigeration to grow, as well as support other businesses as they adapted to the pandemic.
Based in Cowes and established in 2015 by founder Will Overton, Vectis Refrigeration provides servicing, repairs and maintenance for commercial cooling systems. Will applied for a loan from the IW Lottery so that he could invest in training for his team of engineers and help fund new vans.
“We work in a highly regulated market,” Will explains, “so increasing our skillset, together with investment in specialist equipment and increasing van stock makes us even more effective in meeting the needs of our customers. The loan also allowed us to move away from invoice factoring, which reduced costs and allowed us to control our credit lines, meaning we could work more closely with our customers. As we moved into the pandemic it allowed us to be more flexible around payments, meaning we could work alongside our customers through what has been a difficult time for so many across the hospitality and retail sectors.
“We have also invested in ‘Elsa’, our refrigerated trailer, which is the first of its type on the Island. We originally intended for it to support the events and hospitality markets but it has since proven invaluable in helping businesses to re-open. Many customers have invested in new walk-in freezers or undertook deep cleaning and needed to relocate their stock to be held at the optimum temperature whilst the works were being carried out. Elsa proved so popular that we have recently added ‘Olaf’ to our refrigerated trailer fleet, for hire. We believe both Elsa and Olaf will be kept busy as events start to take place again. The trailer has also been used at St. Mary’s Hospital as a key part of the ‘Support the Frontline’ meals campaign for NHS workers, which we were pleased to be able to support.”
Vectis Refrigeration is one of more than 100 Island businesses to have received an interest-free loan from the Isle of Wight Lottery. Since its inception twenty years ago, the lottery has loaned almost a million pounds to local firms, creating more than 400 jobs.
For Will and Vectis Refrigeration the loan has enabled real business growth. With the backdrop of the pandemic, the interest free funding has also enabled Will’s team to respond to the changing needs of Island businesses. The straightforward application to the IW Lottery’s loan panel also provided a moment of reflection.
“As an exercise it was valuable beyond the loan,” Will says. “The application helped me to focus on key aspects and think about the business more deeply. The funding has made a real difference too. As the retail, hospitality and other sectors shut down, we saw a reduction in business but as specialists we were fortunate to provide a service for a number of the larger food retailers to ensure local support for their operations. Our investment in van stock and training certainly expanded our ability to be able to support this sector.
“The move away from factoring and the support the loan enabled could not have come at a better time. We no longer lost margin to the factoring company which certainly helped us as a business as reducing and having control of costs and overheads became even more critical.”
Will’s experience is just one of many Isle of Wight success stories, where local businesses have been able to expand and sustain jobs with the help of interest-free loans. The Isle of Wight Lottery provides vital support to growing businesses, thanks to the support of Islanders who pay just £1 a week to play, with the chance of winning more than 500 cash prizes each year. The Isle of Wight Lottery is backed by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and is run from their offices in Mill Court in Newport.
“The Isle of Wight Lottery is all about cash prizes for our players as well as creating jobs at Island businesses,” says the IW Chamber’s CEO Steven Holbrook. “The lottery celebrates its twentieth year in March so it’s great to be able to share success stories like this. Vectis Refrigeration is a thriving Island business and I’m glad that the Isle of Wight Lottery and its players have been able to help the company to continue to grow.”Will Overton is grateful for the interest free funding, which provided an opportunity and flexible support that he doesn’t hesitate to recommend to others.
“I would strongly urge any business to consider a IW Lottery loan as a great way to fund growth and business development. The lottery team and the loan panel had a genuine interest in my business and wanted to help, which is very different from the experience many have when looking for funding. It has certainly been a good move for us and very timely.”