By Daniel Hunter

Playmob Ltd and Wool and The Gang Ltd are together receiving over £400,000 from the Aspire Fund, backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and designed to provide equity finance to women-led small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

This support sits alongside private sector investments in the two ambitious firms, which totals £2.2 million.

Playmob Ltd, has secured £215,000 from the Aspire Fund. It was established by business and gaming enthusiast Jude Ower in 2007, and links virtual purchasing found in many online games to real life charitable donations through online gaming. Charities already benefiting include the WWF, War Child and Water Aid.

Wool and The Gang has secured £200,000 from the Fund. Established in 2008 by Aurelie Popper and Jade Harwood, Wool and the Gang is an online boutique specialising in fashion knitwear. The investment will enable them to expand their business.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“There are now nearly a million businesses led by women in the UK making an important contribution to the UK economy. The Aspire Fund can encourage female entrepreneurs to consider how equity finance might work for them, and the benefits of approaching investors to secure the finance they need.

“It is important that the full range of finance options is open and accessible to everyone and that no-one is held back from starting and growing their businesses.”

Jude Ower, founder of Playmob Ltd said:

"I am delighted to close our recent round and to be working with the Aspire Fund to take Playmob to the next level. By securing this investment, it enables Playmob to set-up operations in the US, an extremely important area for the business' growth. Our primary focus will be getting games studios, publishers and charities on board as partners.

“Playmob is also expanding the technology platform to include an opportunity for brands to collaborate in giving through games.”

Lisa Rodwell, Wool and the Gang's CEO said:

“We’re incredibly excited to have backing for our quest to build a worldwide movement around sustainable fashion that's handcrafted and made uniquely by our team of artisans around the world.”