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Baby products firm stocking up thanks to £40k loan

By Joanne Sweeney

An award-winning baby products company in Newtownards is one of 70 firms which have received a total of £1.5m in support from a small business loan fund.

Shnuggle started life in the garage of husband-and-wife team Sinead and Adam Murphy six years ago, but now its products are sold in 22 countries throughout the world.

It received a £40,000 loan from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund to help cover working capital finance needs during the year.

Business development manager Sinead said: "The loan enabled us to purchase stock to keep up with the high demand for our products."

The couple and their two employees design and manufacture a range of baby products, including a hypoallergenic Moses basket.

They have recently secured a listing for two products with Tesco and Tesco Direct, and are already stocked by John Lewis, Mamas & Papas, Mothercare and Argos.

The fund provides small and medium-sized firms with money to help with start-up costs.

It is managed by Ulster Community Investment (UCI) on behalf of Invest NI, and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland.

Harry McDaid, chief executive of UCI, said that the fund had surpassed expectations.

"At this stage we have assisted over 200 businesses, aggregating debt support of more than £4m, and the demand continues to grow," he added.

"These are businesses, both start-up and established, which cannot access finance through conventional channels."

Sole traders and partnerships and other small businesses can also access finance though the fund.

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