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l-r: Dane Nicholson and Harriet Gibbs

The director and founder of Gateshead-based Zebra Leisure Lease is looking to diversify into the assisted-living space with the help of a six-figure business funding deal.

Dane Nicholson has a number of businesses spanning motorhome hire through to window film and tint installation, but has used the facility from Reward Finance Group to expand his 33-strong residential and commercial property portfolio, primarily across South Tyneside.

Zebra Leisure Lease specialises in purchasing and refurbishing homes through auctions, while Reward provides SMEs with business finance loans and asset-based services between £50,000 and £5m.

The cash injection will boost the business as it looks to expand its portfolio by 48 per cent and double revenue in the next 12 months.

Nicholson said: "As an SME business owner it can sometimes be difficult to access the finance and working capital needed to drive growth or capitalise on market opportunities in the North East, particularly within the fast-moving residential property sector.

"Our entire business model is built on identifying and purchasing properties at auction and then transforming them to let. Whether it's completing the transaction within 28 days or then funding the refurbishment and build costs, both challenges put immense pressure on our cashflow situation and can naturally stunt the progress of my business.

"Finding a finance provider, that is both willing to lend and also offer the necessary speed and flexibility of loan facility, has provided a vital lifeline that is now powering my ambitions and future plans for the company."

The funding deal was brokered between Reward and Zebra Leisure Lease by David Paget who is managing director for Atlas Trade Finance.

Harriet Gibbs, business development director for Reward Finance Group in Yorkshire and the North East, added: "We're increasingly meeting a range of SMEs like Zebra Leisure Lease that are simply unable to access commercial finance or find a tailored funding solution that will enable business growth. This is a big challenge facing the region's economy and so we're delighted to be able to buck the trend and work with entrepreneurs like Dane to provide common sense, agile lending that overcomes barriers and delivers working capital at speed.

"Dane's plans to expand the company and diversify into the assisted living space within the property market are gathering real momentum and we look forward to working together to help that upward trajectory continue in the year ahead."

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