Supported by the Scottish Government, DSL Business Finance, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and The Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), the SMF aims to provide improved access to finance to businesses throughout Scotland with competitive terms. The fund offers an interest rate of six per cent and has no arrangement or early repayment fees.
The funding is part of a larger £40 million boost from the Scottish Government’s SME Holding Fund, and SMF applicants are provided with a dedicated loan officer for face-to-face pre-loan and aftercare support.
Since launching in December 2016, over 80 businesses have now received £1 million worth of loans of up to £25,000, helping them grow their business in Scotland. Rekha Welsh and Murray Marshall have been appointed as Loan Officers in the North East and Highlands respectively, bolstering SMF’s established presence in key start-up and growth hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Commenting on the £1 million milestone Stuart Yuill, Executive Director of Scottish Microfinance Fund, said: “It’s a real achievement to reach the first million, and demonstrates how effective SMF has been in supporting SMEs to take the leap and either start or grow their businesses.
“The rate of SMEs in Scotland has decreased over the last year, which has contributed to a slowdown in the economy. By providing improved access to finance, there is an opportunity for more SMEs to start or build upon existing ventures. Entrepreneurship in Scotland has the potential to help the economy thrive and the DSL Team looks forward to assisting more businesses reach their potential.”
SMC Cosmetics UK, a nail varnish manufacturer based in Invergordon, is the 82nd recipient of a SMF loan, taking the fund across the £1 million threshold. Founder and Owner Andy Pearson said: “The Scottish Microfinance Fund 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 their 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 the financial support was executed in a short time-scale.”