A UK government-backed finance scheme has lent more than £30 million to small businesses in Scotland since it was launched in 2012, new figures show.
The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has issued more than 4,000 loans, with an average loan size of £7,462, to help people in Scotland become their own boss. Of the 4,047 loans issued to aspiring business owners, 35 per cent went to women.
Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said: “Small businesses are crucially important to our economy, helping to create jobs and generate income, and we’re dedicated to helping them thrive.”
Among those taking advantage of the scheme is Victoria Nicol, who took out a £10,000 loan in 2017 to grow My Language Connection (MLC), a specialist technology translation agency in Glasgow.
The business now generates an annual turnover of £178,000 and Nicol employs three full-time members of staff and engages with a sub-contracting network that employs 400 linguists.
Nicol said: "I’ve always had a passion for business and start-ups but felt limited in my previous role. Start Up Loans, through its funding, helped me greatly, to drive my business and passion to the next level."
Small business minister Kelly Tolhurst said: "Stories like Victoria’s are exactly what the Start Up Loans programme is about - supporting thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK to form new businesses, grow their local economies and be at the heart of their community.
"As a former small business owner, I understand how important access to finance is for small businesses to plan, invest and grow - including seizing the opportunities of scaling up in new markets after our departure from the EU."
UK government minister for Scotland, Robin Walker, said: "Scotland is home to many small businesses which lead the way in terms of entrepreneurship and innovation.
"I am pleased to see £30m issued to entrepreneurs across Scotland through the UK government-backed Start Up Loans scheme. We must continue to foster home-grown talent and back entrepreneurs to ensure Scotland’s economy thrives."