Ink firm set to make mark with £50,000 HSBC grant

A Sheffield-based ink manufacturing company has won one of HSBC’s £50,000 Business Growth Grants.

Diamond Dispersions, a manufacturer of ultrafine, high performance inkjet inks, pitched to an expert panel of judges to showcase what sets them apart from the competition, and how the grant will be used to expand the company through new overseas opportunities.

The HSBC Business Growth Grant aims to find and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential to stimulate growth, and was open to customers of HSBC and non-customers alike. In addition to the two £50,000 Overseas Trade Grants, HSBC will award two £50,000 Business Growth Grants to companies using innovative ideas to grow within the UK.

Stephen Price, HSBC’s UK Head of Commercial and Business Banking, said: “We had some fantastic applications for the £200,000 of Business Growth Grant, and the standard of competition among the ten finalists was incredibly high. Diamond Dispersions have an impressive export strategy, and are eager to do more. They are a great example of a British company putting their stamp on an export market, and I wish them the best of luck for the future.”

Since launching in 2007 with a single black ink product, Diamond Dispersions has developed a range of over 40 products, with more under development. The company has grown by 40% year on year for the last two years, and is keen to continue that rapid growth. Diamond Dispersions already exports over 80% of their product, and is looking to expand its Chinese presence by recruiting a China-based technical manager to support customers in China and the Far East.

Diamond Dispersions director Peter Callahan said: “Diamond was founded in 2007 and since then we have taken our business to almost every corner of the globe. Currently over 80 per cent of what we manufacture is exported and over 60 per cent goes to the Far East. We firmly believe that as a company we cannot stand still and that as the market expands so must we.

“We chase the business as hard as we can; we currently spend up to a third of the year travelling, meeting existing clients face to face in their factories and their offices or trying to win new ones at trade shows and exhibitions. Being one of the smallest companies in the market we know that we have to work that little bit harder and go the extra mile to win and to keep our customers.

“Winning this award means a great deal to us, it is a recognition of the work that the whole team has put into getting Diamond this far. We are growing by 40 per cent per annum and growing companies need support. Winning this award will allow Diamond to continue to grow and to continue to compete in this exciting and rapidly growing market.”

The HSBC Commercial Bank judges were Surath Sengupta, HSBC’s Head of International, and David Flower, Head of Service and Sales. The independent judges were Martin Cook from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Karen McQuade, founder of The UK Food Hall Ltd and winner of the Start-up Stars competition in 2009.

David Flower said: “Diamond Dispersions is a great business with a small, highly passionate team that has created innovative inkjet products and quickly built a worldwide reputation for exceptional quality and good service.

“It is remarkable that so soon after launch over 80 per cent of sales are already overseas, with more expansion to come.”

Karen McQuade said: “Diamond Dispersions have a great energy, ambition and dedication to take their brand worldwide. I was very impressed by their business philosophy. They should be an inspiration to other small firms looking to overseas markets. I wish them a successful future.”