Over past 12 months 130 Scottish businesses have benefited from loans supplied by the Scottish Microfinance Fund (SMF) and created 200 new jobs in Scotland. Specifically targeted at small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) the SMF has a dedicated £6 million pot with which to provide loans, which is part of a larger £40m boost from the Scottish government’s SME Holding Fund.
SMEs that meet SMF criteria are offered advantageous loans with no admin or early repayment fees, it provides greater transparency with a competitive interest rate of 6% per year.
Managed by DSL Business Finance Ltd (DSL) with the support of Scottish government through the Start-up Loans Company (SULCo) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the SMF provides loans of from £500 up to £25,000.
Aimed at SMEs who may meet the more traditional criteria of other loan providers, the prime objective of SMF is to support and grow enterprises in Scotland with a long-term goal of creating a more inclusive economy. DSL executive director Stuart Yuill said: “We are approached by a huge variation of SMEs from all industries; from dental design studios and cafés to clothing and fashion companies.”
Scottish Companies Supported by SMF
One of these Scottish companies was SMC Cosmetics UK, Founder Andrew Pearson who said of SMF: “The SMF stepped in to help SMC Cosmetics UK at a critical time during the start-up phase, ensuring the final stages of the business plan could be executed effectively. Where banks and other sources of finance were looking to charge high rates or take equity, SMF showed its focus was firmly on local, economic growth.”
“The business and mentor support we received from our loan officer, Murray Marshall, during this time was invaluable to SMC Cosmetics UK and he ensured our loan was provided in a short time-scale.”
SK Dental Design founders Mike Stalker and Natalie King, said: “We wouldn’t be here without the support of DSL and the SMF. We approached the banks for a loan, and they simply were not interested.”
According to the SMF website: “The application process for the SMF is simple, quick and effective and if you do not meet the criteria for an SMF loan, DSL has other funding options available.
With the recently reported downturn in Scottish business confidence, it is good to see more is being done to help grow, support and develop new and existing businesses within Scotland.