DSL loan recipient honoured with sustainability accolade

The Argyll Smokery has received the Citi Microentrepreneurship Award for Sustainability and prize of £7,500 after receiving recognition from the judges for their artisan fish smoke house which carries out all of its processes by hand.

The business was built on the belief that no machine can ever replace the quality control of skilled craftspeople, which is why each step of the process is carried out entirely by hand in small singular batches using the Argyll Smokery Signature Cure.

Karen Baxter and Allan McDougall own and co-operate the business which they launched in 2010 after more than 20 years in the industry. The couple have successfully grown the business over the years, consistently increasing turnover and supplying their produce to wholesalers, retailers and supermarkets.

When the couple started their venture, they took a first loan from DSL of £25,000. Later, they secured a second loan of £30,000 from DSL, which mainly financed the purchase of the business premises. The support they received from DSL was fundamental for them at that time as they were refused by a bank for not having a deposit to buy the premises.

The Argyll Smokery is a small team with three full-time and two part-time employees and has recently set up an ecommerce website, which has already generated additional mail order business and has an attractive Facebook presence with great feedback from customers.

The business has been recognised for excellence in the industry and has won numerous food awards including the Great Taste Awards, Quality Food Awards and Highland & Island Food Awards and is SALSA accredited.
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The Scottish Microfinance Fund is managed and delivered by DSL Business Finance Ltd (DSL) with the support of the Scottish Government, Start-up Loans Company (SULCo) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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