Scottish based loan fund, BLS, have revealed that the additional £1.5 million will support approximately 25 Scottish SMEs with funding to start-up or grow.

Fully funded by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Growth Scheme, Business Loans Scotland offer loans from £25,000 to £250,000 to ensure that commercially viable proposals do not fail from a lack of access to finance.

With a focus on providing start-up and growth loans, Business Loans Scotland made the decision to expand their loan offering during the Coronavirus pandemic and began issuing working capital loans to businesses from various industries and sectors.

Identifying the struggles that many businesses were faced with during these extremely challenging times, and priding themselves on offering a personable approach to lending, BLS also implemented a 6 month capital and interest holiday to all borrowers during this time to give SMEs the best possible chance of survival.

Almost 2 years on from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many businesses now being somewhat back in operation, Business Loans Scotland has seen an increase in the number of enquiries and applications from SMEs who are keen to reinstate their start-up or growth strategies.

One individual to reap the benefits of a loan from Business Loans Scotland in the last year was Eileen Bowden, Director of Ayrshire’s first and only inflatable activity park, BounceStation.

Speaking of her experience of launching a business amidst a global pandemic, Mrs Bowden explained: “Thanks to the help of Business Loans Scotland we were able to bring back to life a derelict warehouse in Irvine to create a fun new leisure business for local families.

During our business planning and production the Coronavirus Pandemic hit and created a 15 month implementation instead of our 6 month allowance. During this period Business Loans Scotland recognised the issues all new ventures were having and continued to regularly check our progress and extended our period of drawdown until we had all our ducks in a row.”

Since the launch of her new venture, based in Irvine’s South Newmoor Industrial Estate, the business has created 32 jobs and welcomed more than 15,000 customers. Identifying an increase in demand for loan finance, Fund Manager of Business Loans Scotland Andrew Dickson is delighted with the additional £1.5 million available, which will enable BLS to support even more Scottish SMEs over the coming months. Mr Dickson explained:

“Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed many businesses having to pause their start up or expansion plans due to a lack of finance. As SMEs now start to come through the other side, it is fantastic to see operations resume and I am delighted that this additional £1.5 million of funding is available to support even more Scottish businesses with the finance they require to realise their start-up or growth ambitions.

He added: “We continue to welcome applications and would encourage any business owner who may be looking for loan finance to come and speak with us to see how we can help. Our aim remains to empower Scottish business by providing manageable loan finance which will allow SMEs to thrive which in turn will have a positive impact on employment and the economy.”

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