Horticulture producer cultivates new growth after £900,000 MEIF loan

Funding will be used to acquire new technology supporting growth and creating 14 new jobs in Greater Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire-based Jepco has secured a £900,000 funding package from MEIF Maven Debt Finance to enable the business to purchase hydroponic technology and equipment to expand its production all year round and offer its customers a high yielding alternative for the future. The loan will also allow Jepco to create 14 new jobs in the region.

Two distinct opportunities have arisen for Jepco. The first is to help protect crop growers in the UK, affected by Fusarium, a soil fungi that destroys crops. The second is the introduction of an all year-round supply of salads from UK growers for the retail sector, which have now started to trial in a major UK supermarket.

The firm’s new hydroponic production facility will help to avoid Fusarium due to the process not involving soil. It will also allow all-year round production at the same time as significantly reducing the impact on the environment with the process requiring 10 per cent or less water than traditional outdoor growing methods.

Now in its third generation, the family-run company is led by CEO, Stuart Piccaver, the grandson of John E Piccaver, who founded the business in 1946. This is the second MEIF loan secured by the Jepco Group following a period of growth.

Stuart Piccaver, CEO at Jepco (Marketing) said “We look forward to investing in our hydroponic solution, offering our customers a high yielding alternative for the future. Our new systems will provide great advantages across our supply chain, providing benefits for the consumer, retailers and growers in the UK and Ireland.”

The high cost of purchasing and installing hydroponic systems has been a significant barrier for growers. Jepco has identified soilless growing systems that are affordable and will retro-fit these to existing protected structures such as greenhouses.

Richard Altoft, Investment Director at Maven Capital Partners said “We are very pleased to be working with another company from the Jepco Group - helping fund an innovative hydroponics project. This separate facility will provide a sustainable offering to Jepco’s customers and deliver a solution to protected crop growers in Ireland and the UK.”

The Midlands Engine 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.

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