A CONUNDRUM many small businesses face is how to fund the expansion of their operations without access to financial backing.

At one time a sound business plan and a solid track record would have been enough to secure a bank package, but the ongoing conservatism show towards small business owners means nothing short of an already-thriving turnover will convince most banks to advance any significant sums of cash.

The irony – and frustration - of the situation will not be lost on those that are seeking the cash in order to generate the turnover in the first place.

Which is why the model adopted by private bank Weatherbys is throwing a lifeline to the likes of Niall Macalister Hall, who despite owning significant assets in the shape of Torrisdale Castle Estate and having the pledge of a 20-year income stream from a planned hydro-electric scheme was refused a £500,000 funding package from his previous bank.

Where the other bank had measured Mr Macalister Hall’s ability to pay based on his income at the time of applying, Weatherbys took a longer term view, factoring in the income the scheme was going to make as well as the assets that backed it.

Two years on and the decision is paying off, with the hydro scheme funding a new gin brand that is winning awards and smashing targets just months into production.

From Skyscanner to Appointedd, BrewDog to Mallzee, Scotland is a hotbed for entrepreneurial excellence. Surely it’s time more banks took a less punishing stance and started helping more of them get off the ground.