Scotland has been identified by the British Business Bank (BBB) as an entrepreneurial hub. The Start Up Loans programme has issued more than 3,500 loans to Scottish entrepreneurs, making the total amount lent over £26.5 million since its launch in June 2012.
The government-backed scheme provides personal loans of up to £25,000 for business purposes, along with free mentoring and support to recipients. It has delivered more than £468m of funding through 61,000 loans nationwide. Around 39 per cent of entrepreneurs granted loans through the scheme were formerly unemployed or “economically inactive”, and the BBB credits the scheme for contributing to the creation of more than 60,000 UK jobs.
Jenny Donnellan, UK network director for the devolved nations at the BBB said, “This is a landmark achievement for Start Up Loans in Scotland and it is a real testament to the hard work, commitment and entrepreneurship of business founders across the country. This national loans and mentoring scheme has enabled thousands of aspiring business owners across Scotland to start a business, grow it, and create jobs.”
Mechelle Clark, founder of toastie maker Melt Aberdeen, was among the recipients in Scotland was who received a £20,000 loan. With it she launched the city’s first grilled cheese sandwich shop that now generates annual turnover in excess of £150,000. For the past year, Clark has also been operating a travelling “Meltmobile” and is due to launch a second store at the beginning of May.
Clark, who had been made redundant from her previous role working in the oil and gas industry, said: “I saw there was a gap in the market in Aberdeen to try something different. “There have been challenges along the way, such as the collapse of the local economy hit by the struggling oil and gas industry, but the financial backing I received from the Start Up Loans Company has helped my business grow from strength to strength. The mentoring scheme they offer has also been a bonus.”
Kathleen McLeay, Chief Executive of NCM commented “We are delighted to see BBB extending their footprint in Scotland. We work with them on many of their funding initiatives including UK FTF LP and various Enterprise Capital Funds and a hugely valuable resource to entrepreneurs in the UK both in terms of financial support and knowledge”.