A Scottish Government backed fund which supports enterprise in Scotland by providing micro finance loans to SMEs has lent £2 million to over 130 new and existing businesses across the country, creating more than 200 jobs in the last year.
The Scottish Microfinance Fund (SMF), which is managed and delivered by DSL Business Finance Ltd (DSL) with the support of the Scottish Government, Start-up Loans Company (SULCo) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) recently held a parliamentary reception at Holyrood to celebrate its first birthday and reflect on success from 2017.
The event was sponsored by Gail Ross MSP with a keynote address from the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP on the importance of continued business growth in Scotland. Ms Ross and Mr Brown encouraged entrepreneurs to be ambitious, and to learn from their experiences.
Commenting on the benefits of the Fund Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown MSP said “It’s fantastic that more than 125 businesses have benefited from The Scottish Microfinance Fund. Our economy relies on small and medium sized enterprises, so it’s essential that we provide them with the support they need through initiatives like SMF.”
Gail Ross MSP added “I am delighted to support the Scottish Microfinance Fund, and celebrate its first year. The Fund has had a fantastic impact, and some of the businesses in my constituency have really benefitted. I’m looking forward to seeing businesses from other constituencies benefit from accessing the Fund, and I look forward to celebrating another fantastic year in 2018.”
SMF has a dedicated £6 million pot of funding to lend new and existing SMEs loans of up to £25,000 and is part of a larger £40 million boost from the Scottish Government’s SME Holding Fund. The Scottish Microfinance Fund aims to provide access to finance for businesses which have been refused by larger lending providers such as banks.
Reflecting on the success of the Fund’s first year, Executive Director of DSL, Stuart Yuill said: “The parliamentary reception was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the businesses we have supported, and demonstrate how the funds have been invested. We are approached by a huge variation of SMEs from all industries; from dental design studios and cafés to clothing and fashion companies.
“Taking the leap to start your own business is a daunting prospect for many entrepreneurs, especially in today’s economic and political climate, which are tough to adapt to. But there is huge potential for the Scottish Microfinance Fund in 2018, and we’ve been heartened by the number of people we’ve been able to assist in Scotland. Over one hundred businesses have benefitted from the fund already, and we’ve doubled our own team, with plans to recruit another loan officer for Edinburgh.”
Mike Stalker and Natalie King, founders of SK Dental Design Studio, have utilised loan support from The Scottish Microfinance Fund to fully equip and fit out their studio as well as assist with cashflow until the business becomes established and recently opened their doors to customers. Stalker said: “We wouldn’t be here without the support of DSL and the Scottish Microfinance Fund. We approached the banks for a loan, and they simply were not interested. SMF is a brilliant scheme which is really helping SMEs like us get established and succeed.”