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Specialist Knowsley based solid chemical manufacturer achieves world-first’s following NPIF investment

Knowsley-based specialist chemical manufacturer SolidTek are celebrating a spate of award wins, after becoming the first company globally to achieve NSF International CIAS certification (formally known as “Build Cert”) for its solid chemical inhibitor. It is also the first in the world to achieve ISO:14001 for its environmental management system for its solid chemical products.

SolidTek manufacture innovative products for water treatment, which includes its leading solid paste chemicals and the UK’s most environmentally friendly chemical system. The company secured an initial investment of £80,000 from NPIF – GC & River Capital Microfinance, which is managed by River Capital in partnership with GC Business Finance as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in 2018.

This was then followed by a second round of investment direct from River Capital of £50,000 in 2020 and since then the company has seen exceptionally strong growth.

The achievements follow a spate of ‘firsts’ – including the first solid chemical dissolver which is both designed and manufactured in the UK. The credentials cement its position as a leading UK solid chemical manufacturer that is disrupting the traditional and often inefficient methods of water treatment through its safe, easy to use, and sustainable solid paste chemical range.
Sustainability plays a central role in the business, and its push to use solid paste chemicals. It is safer for operators to handle, cheaper and more efficient to ship, which in turn reduces its carbon footprint, and uses low levels of plastic – all of which is recyclable.

Funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has aided the business in several facets of its operation. In 2018 the business was a fledgling start-up, and in recent years the company has developed better systems to improve facilities like its production equipment. It also paved the way to hire four additional staff in sales and production.

SolidTek is now setting its gaze beyond the UK’s borders. Much of its turnover comes directly from exporting its products to countries including Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, and Germany. Having also sold its products in the UAE, the business is aiming to solidify and extend its international reach within the EMEA.

Steve Crick, Managing Director at SolidTek , said: “I’m very proud of how far the company has come over the past seven years. We have strengthened our product lines, grown our customer base domestically and internationally, whilst also improving our sustainability credentials.

“Support from River Capital and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been an integral part of our development story. I’d like to thank Sue Chambers at River Capital especially, who has coached us through the process and was a great help in the leadup to our application. Investment has been invaluable and without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today – exporting a specialist British-made product globally.”

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “It’s very encouraging to see SolidTek progressing so well. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund aims to support innovative regional businesses looking to export internationally and deliver new sustainable solutions to their markets.

“We’re proud to work with River Capital and our other appointed fund managers. The measurable impact NPIF investment makes on business communities is evident, and we wish Steve and his team all the best in the future.”

Sue Chambers, Investment Manager at River Capital, said: “It’s been fantastic to witness the growth of SolidTek over several years as they continue to strengthen product lines and break into global markets.”

“Their progress showcases the impact that NPIF investment, alongside hard work and resilience, can have on local businesses. We are proud to have played a part in the success they are having both locally and on the world stage which is evident from the recognition they are now receiving and the business and innovation awards they are winning.”

“At River Capital, we pride ourselves on supporting businesses with significant ESG elements, and it’s great to see SolidTek incorporate sustainability within their product offering. We now look forward to their continued development and wish Steve and his team further success.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank