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Business blooms for Lockerbie flower farm

Start Up Loans scheme celebrates £60m of loans to Scottish businesses

The couple behind a flower and Christmas tree business in Lockerbie are expanding into the tourism business with the launch of new on-site accommodation expected later this summer.

The husband-and-wife team behind The Pretty Wild Flower Co recently received funding through the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme and were the recipient of the sixty millionth pound provided by the scheme in Scotland.

A £20,000 loan, delivered through Transmit Startups, has enabled Rebecca and Scott Masterton to develop the new revenue stream, with a new shepherd’s hut glamping unit, providing accommodation for two in the middle of the Christmas tree field. Funding also helped with the purchase of a small tractor as well as the installation of two new polytunnels which increase their flower growing capacity by one-third.

The business was launched shortly after the pair got married, when Rebecca noticed a gap in the market for sustainable, locally sourced flowers used in wedding bouquets and for venue decorations. The couple identified a plot of land beside their home as the best site for growing flowers and, with skills from his day job in agriculture and forestry, Scott was able to turn the unused patch into the now-blooming flower farm.

Scott Masterton, said:

“In addition to growing stunning flowers, we’ve seen growing demand for interactive experiences and workshops that our customers can get more involved in. We’re already working on plans to incorporate a pick-your-own element for people who stay at the new shepherd’s hut. The location is unlike anything else and will offer a picturesque, off-grid escape in the middle of our Christmas tree field.

“Sustainability is at the heart of all that we do and our flowers are grown organically and picked by hand. The polytunnels we use were recycled from another local farm, and we’re also developing our dried flower business which means fewer freshly cut plants end up as waste.

“Floristry began as a hobby for my wife, Rebecca, but thanks to funding and support from avenues like the Start Up Loans programme, we’ve been able to make it a full-time career.”

Since launching in 2012, Start Up Loans has provided over £60 million worth of funding to businesses in Scotland, with over 6,700 loans provided to entrepreneurs. On average, each business owner has received £9,000 as well as being offered support in areas like marketing, business development and business plan writing.

Overall, Edinburgh has seen the largest proportion of Start Up Loans delivered to entrepreneurs with over £9.2 million of funding provided across 833 loans. Meanwhile, Glasgow ranks second with £8.3 million shared amongst 962 entrepreneurs.

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network, Scotland at the British Business Bank, said:

“Scottish entrepreneurialism has seen us support some wonderful businesses since Start Up Loans launched more than a decade ago, including The Pretty Wild Flower Co and many others in the outdoors and tourism space. The fact that £60 million of loans has now been allocated to Scottish founders highlights the effectiveness of the scheme in addressing regional imbalances and access to finance among smaller businesses.

“We hope that creative, ambitious entrepreneurs from all over Scotland are inspired by the stories of successful businesses and encouraged to take the next step towards being their own boss. We’re excited to see what the next generation of Scottish founders brings.”

Notes to Editors

About Start Up Loans

The Start Up Loans programme provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a 6% fixed interest rate per annum and offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business.

The primary aim of the Start Up Loans programme is to ensure that viable start-ups and early-stage businesses have access to the finance and support they need in order to thrive. A network of Business Support Partner organisations supports applicants in all regions and industries throughout the UK. The Start Up Loans programme is not designed to generate a commercial profit. Capital payments together with the interest are recycled to help meet borrowers’ increasing demands for finance.

Free guides on a range of subjects related to starting a business and recent media press releases are available on the Start Up Loans website.

The funding for the Start Up Loans programme is provided by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). A development bank wholly government-owned by DBT, the British Business Bank plc is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank and its subsidiary entities are not banking institutions and do not operate as such.

The British Business Bank makes finance markets for smaller businesses work better, helping the sector to prosper, to grow and to build economic activity.

Key Statistics

  • Since its inception in 2012, the Start Up Loans scheme has delivered over 100,000 loans, providing more than £960m of funding.
  • In the financial year 2022/23, the scheme provided 9,549 loans with a total value of approximately £120m.
  • The economic benefits of the Start Up Loans programme are almost six (5.7) times its economic costs.
  • At Spending Review 2021, the Chancellor announced resources to provide 33,000 Start Up Loans over next three years.

Aside from the return-on-investment numbers these statistics are gross estimates and based on Start Up Loans CRM along with externally commissioned research undertaken by SQW Ltd, with support from BMG Research.

Since 2012, 31% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. Some 40% of loan recipients were women and 21% were from ethnic minority groups (not including white minorities).