by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Irvinestown-based Quintess Denta is one of 148 small businesses in Northern Ireland to have received funding from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund since 2018, taking the total funding allocated to over £4 million. The Fund is managed by Ulster Community Finance Ltd (UCF) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland.

UCF is a subsidiary of social enterprise organisation Community Finance Ireland (previously known as UCIT Ltd). Small businesses, sole traders and partnerships keen to develop their business can avail of loans up to £100,000 to, while start-up businesses can obtain initial loans of up to £15,000.
Community Finance Ireland’s Chief Executive, Dónal Traynor said: “Four million pounds is a huge milestone in the story of the Fund. The past year has been incredibly challenging for small and medium businesses and we’ve been really impressed with how they’ve adjusted their ways of working and identified opportunities to diversify.
“Sectors which have benefitted from the Fund to date include manufacturing, agri food and dental. We are keen to speak to organisations who are interested in exploring how financial support of up to £100,000 could further their business ambitions.”
Quintess Denta is a distribution company for the dental sector, established in 2008 as a dental handpiece repair business. Based in Irvinestown, it employees twelve people and has a sister company, Quoris 3D which specialises in leading edge digital technology. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the closure of dental surgeries meant cashflow dried up almost overnight, so CEO James Hamill and his team had to move quickly to identify new opportunities.
He said: “The pandemic created an immediate risk to the future of Quintess Denta and Quoris 3D. We contacted PPE suppliers in China and Europe who we already had relationships with and secured a supply chain into Northern Ireland. When the PPE arrived after twelve weeks, we were able to supply local government organisations, local businesses in the hospitality and dental sectors who needed it urgently.
“The £70,000 funding from the NISBLF allowed us to bridge a gap when cashflow was non-existent and combined with the income from the sale of PPE, enabled us to create a buffer and reinvest in the company. While it was a hugely stressful period, this activity gave everyone a common purpose, brought the team together, making us stronger and better than ever. We’re now using the Fund towards futureproofing the company further by opening a world class dental education centre in Fermanagh, the L.S Browne Centre, due to launch in April 2021.”
The NI Small Business Loan Fund is part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of loan and equity funds. Quintess Denta has also received support from Invest NI towards the creation of three jobs and to develop its e-commerce website. Invest NI has provided Quoris 3D with support towards the creation of four jobs and the skills development of its staff.
William McCulla, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Corporate Finance, said: “In these unprecedented times it is encouraging to see that businesses continue to seek opportunities to grow and diversify. It is excellent to see that the NI Small Business Loan Fund has been able to assist Quintess Denta, particularly as the company sought to contribute to the wider collective effort through the supply of PPE during the initial stages of the pandemic. The Fund has been instrumental in supporting small businesses who have demonstrated their resilience and creativity throughout this difficult period. This is just one example of how the Fund has helped companies here to pursue projects which otherwise would not have happened.”

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James Hammill, CEO of Quintess Denta, one of 148 small businesses in Northern Ireland to have received funding from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund since 2018, taking the total funding allocated to over £4 million.


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