Diane Watt: Team Spotlight

We have chosen Investment Director, Diane, for our Team Spotlight who gives insight into Frontier Development Capital's Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative

Tell us about yourself and your background.

I joined Allied Irish Bank GB straight from school back in 1984, starting my banking career in the Coventry branch. I worked in various branches until 2012, undertaking various roles including cashiering, accounts control, taking and perfection of security and lending support roles. I was responsible for a lending portfolio and continued in relationship banking until I joined FDC.

What is your role at FDC?

I am an Investment Director leading on the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative Recycled Scheme. My role is to source, structure and support SME’s within the manufacturing sector fund complex and innovative projects.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Always treat people the way you expect to be treated.

Why FDC? What drew you to the family?

One of the partners in a firm of solicitors had been chatting with someone who worked at FDC and they asked if they knew anyone in banking who may be looking for a job. I met with the FDC team, and I liked them. They seemed to like me too, so I joined in 2013 and the rest is history.


AMSCIR questions:

Tell us a bit about the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative Fund?

The fund has been around for several years and is available to help any England-based SME in funding via commercial loans a project that helps improve manufacturing competitiveness, efficiency, capability & capacity through innovative new products, processes and materials, and the project will improve the supply chain and lead to job safeguarding and/or creation. The project may well have had funding elsewhere declined by the traditional lenders.

What does “Advanced Manufacturing” mean?

Advanced manufacturing is the use of innovative technology to improve products or processes.

What does “Supply Chain” mean?

A supply chain is a network of companies involved in the production and delivery of a product, including raw material producers, toolmakers, component manufacturers,

What kind of businesses are eligible for the fund?

The project has to be located in England and the applicant an SME with two years trading history.

The fund is open to manufacturers looking at a defined project to improve their manufacturing processes and products through innovation and improvement. Some or all of the funding may not be readily available from the traditional lenders and the project will demonstrate good environmental and/or economic impacts such as exports, onshoring, inward investment and employment benefits, for example.

What can the funding be used for?

Project funding includes capex, R&D, training and staff costs. Whilst the fund does not cover property purchases, we can assist with specific project fit-out costs. Loans are available from £0.5m upwards to around £4m.

Tell us a bit about those that have previously benefitted from the fund?

We have supported companies that require funding for deposits on long lead-time production lines. AMSCI Funding can also support project-related R&D costs; close-to-market or improvements; Training linked to oven-ready projects; Working capital linked to projects; Fit out of new manufacturing/R&D cells; Capital Expenditure.

Find out more about the AMSCIR here


Quick fire round

What is your favourite song/artist/author/hobby/thing and why?

I have 2 grandchildren who I love spending time with. Our current most played song is “Just Sing” from Trolls World Tour. However, you could find me equally at either an Iron Maiden or a Kylie concert.

Last destination you travelled to and the next one you aspire to go?

Anyone who knows me knows I like an occasional holiday. My last trip was a girl’s trip to Tenerife, and I also have Bali booked.

One interesting fact about yourself.

After a lot of fundraising and with the help of family and great friends, we funded a specialist room in the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Image of SME Funding Pack
Information Pack


For more information about FDC funds available download our pack, or get in touch and we’ll answer your questions.