With ambitions for “a Moment on every continent”, UMi Debt Finance Scotland has supported the Aberdeen-headquartered marketing agency with a £50,000 loan under the Scottish Growth Scheme to scale internationally.
Moment’s delivery director Adam Bell says that UMi’s finance product appealed to him after weighing up ways to finance the three-year-old company’s bold international growth plans.
“As we’re still in the early stages of our business, we knew that some finance routes might not have been available to us,” Adam explains. “But after some conversations with UMi’s investment executive Laura Ferguson – who I met while networking in Aberdeen – we realised that a loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland would be an option we could pursue.
“We have an ethos of resourcing ahead of time to prepare for future growth, which includes our team and tools, so we can deliver a higher volume and level of work.
“Laura and our accountant were really helpful in making sure that the numbers made sense.”
The Aberdeen-based marketing agency’s resourcing approach – nurturing local talent by working with universities and schools and offering apprenticeships – is paying off. The company has been enjoying rapid growth despite the challenges of the pandemic, employing a team of 12 by June 2021. It is currently recruiting for two further roles, with many more on the horizon.
Adam continues: “In addition to growing the core agency business, we are looking to operate across the UK and mainland Europe, and our internationalisation strategy is just beginning.
“In Q3, we’ll be opening a European base in the Netherlands.
“We are also in the process of developing a new tech product to help with marketing analytics and attribution, working with Robert Gordon University. We have already developed a proof of concept and hope to have a minimum viable product (MVP) later this year and to commercialise the product next year.”
Sustainability – in terms of the business’s own growth and its impact on the planet – is important to Adam, who is targeting B Corp accreditation in the next 12 months.
“I feel a strong sense of responsibility to do ‘marketing for good’,” Adam explains. “We’re not just trying to grow another marketing consultancy that’s the same as all the others. We might be a for-profit company, but we don’t make this profit at the expense of the planet or people – including our team.
“We want to give people as much choice as we can about where and how they want to work. We have team members across Scotland and adopting the hybrid model also means we’re not tied to localities for talent.
According to Adam, the loan that The Moment Agencies Ltd accessed from UMi Debt Finance Scotland will help with all these developments, which will allow the company to make major gains.
“We’re currently turning over £250,000 a year and targeting £1m in the next 12 months,” he reveals.
Longer-term, the delivery director has his sights set on rapid international growth.
“I’d love to see a Moment on every continent – well, nearly every one,” he says with a smile. “We feel our commercial model is sustainable for establishing new hubs and identifying other markets that make sense. Our category focus lends itself well to this. Currently around 50% of our business is in energy – increasingly renewables and clean energy. Also, food and drink and technology, which is why the Netherlands makes sense for us right now.”
While Adam is quick to acknowledge that debt finance won’t be right for everyone – particularly those needing to fill short-term cashflow gaps – he recommends UMi Debt Finance Scotland to anyone who thinks they have the ability to grow their business.
“I would encourage people to go for it,” Adam says. “The application process was fantastic. The requirements were really clear and straightforward. I felt supported by Laura and the wider team, particularly with the more technical aspects of the figures.
“The ongoing support has been really good, and it’s been great learning more about UMi’s work more broadly and the way it’s supporting businesses.
“If you’re looking to grow and really make a step change in your business then debt finance can be the right option for you.”
Coatbridge-based UMi Debt Finance Scotland was launched in January 2019 to provide loans of between £25,001 and £250,000 to Scottish businesses. Loans are issued for three years and carry interest rates of between 6.5% and 15%.
Tom Brock, Fund Director at UMi Debt Finance Scotland, said: “Adam’s determination to create a sustainable and ethical marketing consultancy, underpinned by a strong international growth plan and exciting new product spin-out, makes Moment a great example of the type of Scottish business we want to support.
“We have loans of up to £250,000 available for businesses that want to do more and go further. Our experienced team can talk you through the options and support you with every stage of the application and beyond.”