BUSINESS Loans Scotland, a consortium of Scotland’s local authorities, provides loan finance up to £100,000 to new and growing, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across Scotland. The Fund benefits from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) financial support increasing the monies available to lend to eligible businesses. So far, Business Loans Scotland have supported nineteen Scottish businesses, from eleven different local authority regions, with the value of loans totalling over one million, one hundred thousand pounds.
Obtaining gap funding could not be easier, it only involves a simple five stage application process. After registering your interest via the Business Loans Scotland website, your local Business Adviser will review your enquiry and if eligible, invite you to apply online using the Online Loan Application System. Post completion of your application form, the next step is to upload your business plan and supporting documentation. At this stage Business Loans Scotland appraises the submissions and determines the outcome within a four to six week time frame.
When it comes to eligibility, companies must be a legally formed, trading SME to be considered. The only stipulation is the business must be able to demonstrate it will thrive at local or Scottish economy level. If successful, these loans can be used for working capital or purchasing plant, equipment or business property which in turn will enable the business to grow and have a positive impact in the local economy. The funding granted so far has been used by businesses to successfully undertake a management buy-out, assist in new product manufacturing, support the build of a new visitor centre, invest in suitable office space and much more.
WooHa Brewing Company based in Kinloss, Moray, is one of the Scottish businesses to have already received funding from Business Loans Scotland. WooHa Brewing are dedicated to making great tasting bottle and KeyKeg conditioned beer using expertly blended malts, balanced flavours and cold, clear Scottish water. They were delighted when they were awarded fifty thousand pounds worth of funding from Business Loans Scotland to enable them to move to a larger production facility. Founder and owner of WooHa Brewing, Heather McDonald said: “Our new site means we can increase production five-fold which means we are well on our way to achieving our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s leading craft beer exporters. We believe that in 2018 eighty per cent of our business will be from exports, with the US being the main market.”
Speaking of the Fund, Andrew Dickson, fund manager from Business Loans Scotland, added: “Access to capital remains a major hurdle to many small and medium sized businesses which are looking to start up and grow. Often, our funding can make the difference between a business struggling or flourishing and that in turn will have a positive impact on employment, profitability and making communities stronger”.
To find out more or to start the application process, please visit the Business Loans Scotland website at www.bls.scot.