UK Government-backed programme passes £25m lending milestone to Scottish microbusinesses
18 March 2019: New figures from the British Business Bank show its Start Up Loans programme making a real difference to small business founders across Scotland. The programme recently passed the significant milestone of having lent over £25million to aspiring Scottish business owners since it launched six years ago.
Latest data from the UK government-backed programme reveals that since June 2012 it has now issued more than 3,500 loans, averaging £7,200 each, to people in Scotland to kickstart new businesses. The loans amount to a total of £26,691,573.
Among the recipients was Mechelle Clark, the founder of Melt Aberdeen who received a £20,000 loan to launch Aberdeen’s first grilled cheese sandwich shop in March 2016.
After being made redundant twice in the same year from the oil and gas industry, Mechelle was inspired by the London foodie scene to launch her own grilled cheese shop.
With the help of the fixed-interest loan, Melt Aberdeen has been trading for two years, serving up different toasties filled with quality local ingredients throughout the day.
Since launch, the business now generates a turnover of £150,179. Mechelle employs two full-time members of staff to service the business.
For over a year, the business has also been operating a ‘Meltmobile’ and plans to open a second store on May 1st 2019.
Mechelle Clark, founder of Melt Aberdeen, said:
“I’ve always had a passion for cooking, and after being made redundant and attending up to 60 job interviews, I decided enough was enough and it was time to set up my open business doing what I love.
“I saw there was a gap in the market in Aberdeen to try something different, to use local ingredients to move the ‘toastie’ up a level from the days of Brevilles and cheap white bread. The feedback I have received from customers has been incredible. People love the look of Melt, it instantly transports them to their childhood.
“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, with their advice being incredibly helpful.”
Kelly Tolhurst MP, Small Business Minister, said:
“The UK’s 5.7 million small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we’re dedicated to helping them thrive through our modern Industrial Strategy, ensuring we retain our status as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a small business.
“Reaching this important milestone reflects the success of UK Government-backed start-up loans in supporting entrepreneurs across Scotland, including those in Aberdeen, helping them form new businesses that grow local economies and are at the heart of our communities.”
Jenny Donnellan, UK Network Director for the Devolved Nations, 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 have enabled thousands of aspiring business owners across Scotland to start a business, grow it, and create jobs.”
Across the UK, the Start Up Loans scheme has lent over £468m in nearly 61,000 loans since its inception in June 2012. As well as finance, the scheme offers a dedicated mentoring service to every loan recipient to help them with every aspect of setting up a business.