An Edinburgh-based nursery chain is to boost its workforce after raising £35,000 from specialist crowdfunding platform LendingCrowd.
We Care for Children, which operates the Little Flyers nursery, currently has six locations in Edinburgh and West Lothian, providing day and out-of-school care for more than 300 children aged between three months and 12 years.
Owner and managing director Sharon Fairley turned to LendingCrowd after unsuccessfully approached her bank for a £35,000 loan to open a new site in West Lothian.
Having secured its loan target in eight weeks, the firm has used the funds refurbish the former care home and take on three new members of staff, with the eventual plan to boost that figure to 15.
“When the banks are consistently refusing to provide you with a loan, you start to doubt your business and your ambitions for it to grow and succeed,” Fairley said.
“Thankfully LendingCrowd shared my vision, enthusiasm and belief in the project and have been fantastic in helping to make my pitch to potential investors and provide the tailored information that they really needed.”
LendingCrowd, co-founded by chief executive Stuart Lunn and chairman Bill Dobbie, has facilitated 34 loans totalling £1.75 million to SMEs since it was launched a year ago.
Lunn said: “We Care for Children’s experience goes to show how vital crowdlending can be to an increasing number of SMEs across the country, especially those who operate in sectors that have specialised borrowing requirements.
“Just because a company does not fit the standard template often required to secure bank funding it should not mean their ambitions to grow as a business are thwarted. There are lots of enthusiastic investors out there who are keen to back companies like We Care for Children, and we believe flexible and well-regulated crowdlending can help support a successful base of SMEs that can go on to make a valuable contribution to the economy.”