The formation of DSL in 1993 was as a direct response to research into the difficulties faced by people from under-invested communities when attempting to access funding for new or existing businesses.
In response the Glasgow Regeneration Fund (GRF) was established to provide microfinance to entrepreneurs in Glasgow.
GRF raised more than £3 million from public and private-sector sponsors, including ERDF, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise Glasgow. The private sector also made significant financial contributions, including support from The Body Shop, Royal Bank of Scotland and British Petroleum. Seconded managers were provided by Clydesdale Bank and Bank of Scotland.
GRF was formally wound up in June 2001, having invested more than £3 million in 372 “high risk” enterprises, creating 2126 new jobs and safeguarding more than 1000 existing jobs.
In 2001 we built on the success of GRF by developing two new funds: the Social Enterprise Fund (SEF) for social economy organisations; and the Western Scotland Regeneration Fund (WSRF). The funds were raised from ERDF, the Phoenix fund from the DTI and DSL’s first commercial loan from Unity Trust Bank.
A report looking at the relevance of the Grammen Bank Model pioneered by Mohammed Yunus was commissioned by DSL in 1995.
In 1999, £25,000 was ring-fenced from DSL's budget to provide the initial loan fund for the The Glasgow Women’s Microcredit Project. This was managed in conjunction with the Wellpark Enterprise Centre who provided training to the women and co-ordinated operations.
DSL provided the loan capital element of the project alongside advisory and fund management support. The programme targeted women who may otherwise never have the confidence to go into business, and women who have particular difficulty accessing capital for their existing business.
Due to the success of this local pilot Scottish Enterprise developed and launched the National Microcredit Programme, which operated successfully throughout the Scottish Enterprise area. This ended in 2007 due to funding restraints.
DSL still manages repayment of issued microcredit loans on behalf of Scottish Enterprise.
In 2004, Developing Strathclyde Ltd rebranded under the name DSL Business Finance. However, DSL's philosophy about providing access to finance is still the same.
Also in 2004, we expanded to cover a wider area including Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Glasgow.
In 2008, due to demand, we expanded again to cover Edinburgh, Stirling, Falkirk, West Lothian, East Lothian and Midlothian. During late 2008/2009 we looked to increase the access to finance we provide by reaching most of lowland Scotland and are happy to consider loans from other areas in Scotland where we have capacity to deliver. We are seeking partners to increase this coverage to meet our aim of access to business finance for all.
DSL Business Finance offers loans to businesses in Glasgow, businesses in Edinburgh, businesses in South Lanarkshire, businesses in North Lanarkshire, businesses in South Ayrshire, businesses in East Ayrshire, businesses in North Ayrshire, businesses in East Renfrewshire, businesses in Renfrewshire, businesses in Stirling, businesses in Fife, businesses in Inverclyde, businesses in Dumfries and Galloway, businesses in West Lothian, businesses in East Lothian, businesses in Midlothian, and businesses in towns and areas including Livingston and Falkirk.
We now lend anywhere in Scotland including Aberdeen, Western Isles, Inverness and Dundee
DSL - Business lending in Scotland