Meet the Team: Stuart Yuill
Name: Stuart Yuill
Job title: Executive Director, DSL Business Finance Ltd
Tell us about your role. Creating and maintaining jobs and communities by providing access to affordable business funding is at the heart of what we do, and one of my responsibilities is to ensure we effectively deliver this in Scotland. I provide strategic and operational leadership to ensure underlying financial stability as a not for profit business, and regularly engage with external organisations to explore opportunities for partnerships. DSL manages a number of funds on behalf of others with different requirements, ranging from administration to full delivery of the Fund.
At DSL, we have full responsibility for the Scottish Microfinance Fund (SMF) which is delivered on behalf of Scottish Government (with contributions for Scottish Government (ERDF) and DSL, with a funding match from The Start Up Loans Company). Since launching the Fund in 2016, I’ve recruited additional team members, appointed a marketing and PR agency and a software development company, as well as ensuring we are fully engaged with our stakeholders, both external and internal.
What do you enjoy most about your job? No two days are the same! It’s often said that “variety is the spice of life” and there is certainly plenty of that at DSL. It’s an exciting time to be leading the business and we have an enthusiastic team, great partners and a very supportive Board. It’s a powerful combination that excites even this seasoned campaigner.
What’s your background? I’m a career banker, by accident like many others, of 34 years working at Clydesdale Bank, Bank of Scotland and latterly LBG until 2010. It was a great career and journey, I acquired a wealth of knowledge on the way , and almost half my career was spent in business, commercial and corporate banking which was great experience and learning. I engaged with a whole range of businesses of various sizes and sectors, and it’s been especially satisfying see some start-ups we supported become great businesses and in some cases, world class leaders in their field.
What one piece of financial advice would you give business owners? Do your research, know your numbers and market and make sure the executive summary in your business plan passes the “Mum Test” – if your parents don’t understand it, it’s probably too complicated!
If you started a business, what would it be? If I was being self- indulgent, something related to one of my biggest passions – sport. If it was to make a decent profit and potentially sell, then I’d establish a manufacturing or service business that has future potential due to changing legislation for example, a requirement for businesses to have a particular product or service.
What’s the most interesting business you’ve ever supported? There have been several over the years, but usually ones that spot a gap in the market have been really interesting. I once funded a business that was repairing and refurbishing used televisions and exporting in container batches to Russia and parts of Africa.
Those with ground breaking technology are very interesting, and watching traditional businesses develop is also rewarding. One of my former customers who started out with a single unit fish and chip shop is now a major player in the restaurant trade, and still has some of the chip shops that helped provide the impetus for them to make that next step.