News in brief: finance; skills shortage; Tech Ambassador

News in brief
News in brief

Ski-wear manufacturer reports crowdfunding success

Ski company Faction has reported that its Crowdcube campaign raised £369,000 in three days. The offering allows fans to invest alongside angel and venture capital (VC) backers for as little as £50. The £500,000 they aim to raise will fund expansion into growing markets, including Asia, which hosts the next two winter Olympics and the $4.5 billion North American market.

Backed until now by founders, angel investors and London VC Octopus Ventures, Faction is on track for £2.7 million in turnover this season, selling to fans worldwide through 300 retailers in 25 countries. The company uses innovative materials from carbon to recycled PET and has won more than 50 awards including Skiing Magazine’s ‘Ski of the Year’.

“We’re a high-growth multi-million pound turnover business now, so we’ve got strong backers and access to capital. But we wanted the fans and angels who got us here to be part of our journey,” said Faction co-founder and CEO Alex Hoye. “We loved the opportunity Crowdcube offers our advocates to invest. It’s a revolution in small business financing to allow individuals to invest alongside respected investors and as a company who has always pushed boundaries we’re pleased to be on the front line.”

UK and Germany partner up to address oil and gas skills shortage in Africa

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID-Kenya) and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has designed an initiative that will equip local populations with skills needed to seize job opportunities in the oil and gas sector in East Africa.

The initiative, dubbed Skills for Oil and Gas Africa (SOGA), will focus on Kenya, Uganda Tanzania and Mozambique and will work closely with the private sector and government to deliver support to training institutions, establishing business enterprise development centres and assist local people to win contracts to supply goods and services to the oil and gas industry. The five year project (2015-2019) implemented by GIZ and co-funded by UK aid (£25 million) is expected to help 32,000 local people to get sustainable jobs in the sector over the next five years.

GIZ country Director Kenya Mr Hendrik Linneweber said: "The recent oil & gas discoveries in Kenya and Eastern African countries offer an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth and development. In the next two years, the Oil and Gas Industry will have a huge demand of technical skills and there is an urgent need to qualify and prepare these people for future jobs".

CEO of Central Working appointed London Tech Ambassador

CEO of Central Working James Layfield has been appointed a London Tech Ambassador and has joined Mayor Boris Johnson in Tel Aviv in his first official role in helping to promote the capital’s tech sector on the international stage.

Appearing alongside the Mayor, Layfield announced Central Working’s plans to bring 20 leading Israeli start-ups to London as members of the UK network of collaborative workspaces.

The start-ups chosen for the programme will not only benefit from work space at one of Central Working’s four London locations and access to its Manchester site, but can also take advantage of the elite mentoring and support of the Central Working network. They will join more than 1,000 businesses currently in the Central Working community, which aims to offer a nurturing environment and help companies of all sizes grow.