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Enterprise Corporate Finance raises £10m for food & dining EIS

Smaller companies specialist Enterprise Corporate Finance is raising up to £10m for the country food and dining enterprise investment scheme fund.

This EIS fund aims for growth over three and a half to five years, with EIS tax benefits, by investing in out-of-town or edge of town businesses that combine eating out with farm-style food shops. Investments may include any or all of the four existing country food & dining EIS funds. The new fund is managed by the same team as the four existing funds.

The concept behind the fund is that people eat in country pubs and shop in farm shops, but the two trades are rarely combined. In doing so, the directors of the EIS aim to increase the length of visitors’ stays and the amount of money they spend. The aim is to build 10 or more farm shops and sites acquired are likely to be existing neglected or under-exploited farm shops, garden centre or retail sites needing investment and re-marketing in affluent rural areas within three hours’ drive from Hungerford.

The existing sites are Cobbs Farm Shop in Hungerfrd, Woody’s Farm Shop & Dining in Bath, Green Fields Farm Shop in Shropshire and The Good Life Farm Shop & Café in Winchester.

The directors of the EIS believe there is a market for their country food and dining concept because of increasing demand for healthy, locally sourced food and the popularity of eating out. They think the concept will have particular appeal to affluent over-50s and families at weekends.

Asset backing with EIS tax relief may be appealing to investors, along with the investment team’s experience in managing four previous funds. However, there is no guarantee that suitable new sites will be found, or that the directors’ preferred exit strategy of selling all the farm shops as a group to a single buyer will be possible.

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