Start-up businesses in Scotland have borrowed more than £26 million from the British Business Bank since its launch six years ago.
Small Scottish companies have been issued with more than 3,500 loans, averaging £7,200 each, to help start their businesses.
The UK Government figures show £26,691,573 has been lent to firms in Scotland. Across the UK the Start-Up Loans scheme has lent over £468m in nearly 61,000 loans since its creation, with a mentoring service to accompany the borrowed money.
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 took out the loan to launch her own business.
Two years on, her business now generates a turnover of £150,179 and employs two full-time members of staff, and she now plans to open a second store in May.
Mechelle 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.”
Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP 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 which are at the heart of our communities.”