Raising nearly half a million pounds in equity investment is no small feat – and it’s exactly what Bellfield Brewery did last month.
The UK’s only dedicated gluten-free microbrewery had raised investment before through crowdfunding, but this time it was about attracting fewer, bigger investors, as director Giselle Dye told me.
“They were both extremely rigorous processes and demand a great deal of time so I wouldn't recommend rushing into either unless you have a really robust business plan and all the supporting documentation that you'll be asked for as part of the due diligence process,” she said.
“Both were equally supportive and helpful and patient with us which is what you need, as a start up!”
As the Edinburgh-based company has grown, they’ve faced challenges which will no doubt sound familiar – running a businesses with a part-time team, bootstrapping and scaling up production.
“As any manufacturing business will know, you have to produce the goods and pay for them, before you can sell them and then it often takes 3 months before you get paid!” Giselle said.
The £430,000 invested by the angel syndicate Equity Gap and supported by Scottish Investment Bank, will allow the team to go full time on permanent contracts and increase the sales team.
But as with all scale up stories, the investment was only part of the journey.
Giselle is very grateful to a number of agencies for their support, including Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.
“We started off working with Business Gateway in Edinburgh – Evan McLean – and got fantastic advice and support. They were always quick and super-helpful,” she said.
“They work closely with Scottish Enterprise, so put us in touch with other teams including Innovation, Organisational Development and SDI and we were able to apply for grants that helped us at crucial points in our journey.
“We're lucky enough to have just been taken on as an Account Managed business by Scottish Enterprise – our Business Gateway advisor, Evan, put us forward and supported our case – and we're very much looking forward to the turbo-charged support that this apparently offers!
“I'd also really like to single out Scotland Food & Drink for praise; they are really helpful, proactive and incredibly supportive of small businesses like ours.”
If you have a story about how your business scaled, drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.