Business Loans Scotland (BLS) is one of the Fund Managers charged to invest Scottish Government funds in new and growing Scottish SMEs. Led by a consortium of Scotland's local authorities, BLS offer loans from £25,000 up to £100,000 to new and growing businesses throughout Scotland. By giving businesses access to an invaluable new source of funding, these loans can be used flexibly for several purposes, including, working capital, the purchase of plant or equipment, investing in business property and expanding into new markets. Fully funded by the Scottish Growth Scheme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Business Loans Scotland aims to give businesses access to funding that will support their growth and expansion plans.
During the last two years, BLS has invested over £7million in businesses the length and breadth of country. The fund is now fully committed which is ahead of schedule. This is fantastic news for those businesses who successfully applied for the Start-up and Growth or Working Capital loans, these funds have helped to start, grow and stabilise these key businesses through the ongoing COVID pandemic and have generated and safeguarded jobs for the year ahead.
BLS is hopeful for an additional round of funding from the Scottish Government and whilst this process is ongoing, they are able to continue lending to SMEs in the short term by re-investing over £1million of the realisations repaid to the Fund to date.
With the Fund being effectively fully committed, Andrew Dickson, Fund Manager of BLS said:
“It’s fantastic news that BLS has been able to invest the full value of the Fund in circa 100 Scottish SMEs and well ahead of the original time frame. Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has created plenty of challenges for business, it has also created opportunities for businesses to adapt and think differently about how they source raw materials, how they supply, service and sell to their customers. I’m confident BLS will secure additional funds to continue lending to Scottish businesses and continue the excellent work of the Fund and its staff.”
Some of the businesses that have been helped by this round of funding have praised Business Loans Scotland’s efforts in helping them achieve their ambitions:
Secureshield received £250k of funding to help secure and maintain Scottish jobs. Talking of the BLS loans provided to John Hunter, Director of Secureshield said:
“This first round of funding by Business Loans Scotland was crucial in ensuring we met our rapid stabilisation objectives. BLS were realistic and so supportive with the first tranche of loan that they became the natural choice for the second round of seed funding we knew we would require. There’s no doubt that without the support of BLS we would have had a greater challenge to protect the jobs that were at risk, facilitate the stabilisation and allow us to make our first acquisition. Early repayment of both loans was easily managed between both parties and we’re delighted BLS remain in touch with us to track our progress.”
H&R Gray Haulage received a £250k loan to enable the creation of a modern drive-through delivery centre, to meet delivery demands throughout the COVID pandemic. Speaking of the service provided, Robin Gray from H&R Gray said:
“We dealt with Business Loans Scotland approximately 5 years ago on a smaller project, so we had no hesitation on approaching them again for this project. The whole process is quick and very straightforward to complete. It is a far simpler and quicker process than going to a High Street Bank, from application to receiving approval. I would have no hesitation in recommending Business Loans Scotland to any business wishing to expand and drive their business forward.”
Ivanhoe Caledonian recently received a £100k COVID Working Capital Loan to help with the negative impact of the on-going COVID pandemic. Speaking of the loan awarded, Director for Ivanhoe Caledonian, Keith Cockburn said:
“Business Loans Scotland were extremely helpful and understood what we are looking to do with the business going forward. They provided us with the additional funds we needed to deal with the immediate impact of Covid-19 on the business which has allowed us to continue with our plans for growth and diversification into the packaging market. We would definitely recommend BLS and would look to use them again ourselves if required for future growth.”
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