DSL Business Finance supporting Scotland’s food and drink

Celebrating Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight

31 August to 15 September 2019

Scotland’s reputation for high-quality food and drink is growing and, as part of Ambition 30, the industry is aiming to double its turnover to £30 billion by 2030, which means new businesses in the sector need support to set-up and expand.

DSL Business Finance is an alternative finance provider that offers loans of up to £50,000 to small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises, including many in the food and drink sector. In the three years to end June 2019, DSL lent more than £8 million to 435 organisations. Of this total, £1.7m (21%) has been to 75 food and drink businesses across the country.

DSL is committed to continuing to support food and drink enterprises looking to set-up and scale-up and has more applications for finance in the pipeline.

To mark Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (31 August to 15 September), DSL has compiled a snapshot of some of the businesses in the sector it has supported recently in various parts of the country.

  • DSL gave vegan Café Kombucha in Elgin in Moray a loan of £15,000 last year and the venue reopened in November following a major refurbishment.
    Café Kombucha has gone from strength-to-strength and has become well regarded among locals and visitors for excellent food and service.
    Sarah Doonan, owner of Café Kombucha, said: “The loan and support I received from DSL has allowed me to grow my business and fill a need in the market in Moray for great vegan and vegetarian food. I’m delighted with the development of the café, which this funding made possible.”


  • DSL also provided funding to Kevin Paterson who realised his dream of opening his own community café with the launch of Utopia Café in the Hilton area of Inverness in April 2019. He received a loan of £25,000 to assist with stock, initial working capital and fully refurbishing the unit. As a result of the funding, four jobs have been created.
    Kevin Paterson, owner of Utopia Café, said: “With the funding from DSL I was able to get my Utopia Café up and running and haven’t looked back. I’ve made good use of social media and there is now a real buzz around what I’m doing at the café. It’s been even more successful than I had hoped and I’ve had some excellent reviews. It’s great to be part of Scotland’s diverse food and drink offering.”


  • In East Kilbride, DSL gave a loan of £25,000 to Sam Alves (22) to purchase his father’s business Café Ricos. Alves had been working in the business for five years and was managing it while his father focused on another catering business. The café was refurbished and has a new Portuguese inspired menu to reflect his father’s heritage.
    Sam Alves, owner of Ricos, said: “Having worked at my father’s café for five years I was really pleased to get the opportunity to buy the business. This was made possible thanks to funding from DSL which also allowed me to refurbish the café in East Kilbride and welcome existing and new clientele.”


Stuart Yuill, DSL Business Finance executive director, said: “Food and drink is a vital part of the Scottish economy. We’re committed to helping Scottish businesses grow and have supported many clients in the food and drink sector. We wanted to mark Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight by highlighting some of the exciting businesses we have helped, and we’ll continue to do so in the future.