Manchester creative content and photography business Grey Box Studio Ltd has been awarded £100,000 of funding from Barclays Bank and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Grey Box is a successful creative content and photographic studio specialising in the fashion sector, with clients including Joules Clothing, Cotton Traders and Matalan.

It was founded in 2014 by Directors Simon Grimley and Lindsy Agana and employs four members of staff at its studio in Ardwick. The loan – split 50/50 between Barclays and NPIF – will be used to develop a new 6,000 square feet premises in Salford and enable the firm to diversify into food and drink photography and grow their team to 10 by the end of 2017.

Simon Grimley, Director of Grey Box said: “Our goal is to become the number one creative content agency in the UK and securing this loan from Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Barclays gives us just the injection of investment we need to take our growth to the next level.

“The retail marketplace today demands that brands are represented by the very best quality imagery which is exactly what we deliver for our clients. Our reputation for excellence, results and hard work speaks for itself and we look forward to the next phase of our growth which will see us expanding into other sectors, doubling our team and launching state of the art new premises.”

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “The North is brimming with small businesses that have the capability to compete with the biggest players in their respective sectors. Grey Box is a great example of an ambitious company with the expertise to become one of the largest agencies in the country, and this funding will act as an important step in supporting the company as it continues to grow.”

The Northern Powerhouse 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.

The £10m NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance provides loans between £25k and £100k to SMEs across the North West and is managed by alternative finance provider Business Finance Solutions (BFS) and by MSIF.