LANARKSHIRE-based eco-business Plan Bee, named small business of the year at the Business Green Leaders Awards in London this week, has raised a further £70,000 from Kelvin Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank.

The firm, which has devised sponsored sustainable beekeeping as a corporate social responsibility initiative, raised £130,000 from the same sources a year ago through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, where the SIB matches private funding.

Plan Bee last month closed a crowdfunding appeal having raised £105,500 from 177 investors on the Crowdcube platform, well below the £175,000 target first advertised on the site but well above a revised £60,000 target later set by the business.

Loading article content

Founder Warren Bader said: "In many ways we've been a test case, and I hope we've paved the way for other businesses to follow this model of funding from various sources."

He added: "This funding will enable us to fully implement our business and marketing plan, as well as source more stock. We're looking to take on more permanent staff, develop our e-commerce and expand our education offering. We have a pipeline of potential deals with major organisations in both the public and private sectors, and are now in a position to capitalise on the interest in Plan Bee in Scotland and beyond."

Clients to date include Balfour Beatty, Land Securities, Royal Troon golf club and Highland Spring.

Paula Skinner, partner at advisers Harper Macleod, commented: "In the current climate both businesses and their advisers have to be more innovative to access pots of funding from a range of areas."

Jim Duffy, chief executive of early supporter Entrepreneurial Spark, said: "Plan Bee has done remarkably well in both execution and bringing on board new investors who appreciate the business model and the environmental aspect of this business."

Crowdcube founder Luke Lang said: "Scottish businesses are now really embracing crowdfunding."