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Highland businesses benefit from £2.7m of start-up loans


By Calum MacLeod

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Victoria Nicol was able to grow her business with the help of a Start Up Loan.
Victoria Nicol was able to grow her business with the help of a Start Up Loan.

New entrepreneurs in the Highlands have been helped to make their business plans a reality thanks to almost £2.7 million in funding through the Start Up Loans programme.

The scheme has approved funding worth a total of £2,657,893 to 275 successful applications in Highland, the fifth largest region for loan activity, since the programme’s launch in 2012.

In neighbouring Moray, 83 applications were approved for a total of £607,715.

The north of Scotland funds are part of a total of £47 million which has been distributed across Scotland through the British Business Bank programme, with £15 million of that going to companies founded by entrepreneurs under 30. Start Up Loans also provides a range of mentoring and advice for aspiring business owners.

The Start Up Loans programme’s mission is to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance and was initially set up as the UK economy recovered from the 2008 credit crisis.

The programme has a strong track record of supporting young people to start their own businesses, with double the number of 18 to 24 year old applicants using the programme as a route out of unemployment in 2020 compared to 2019 across the UK.

Victoria Nicol was 28 when she received a Start Up Loan to help grow her language translation business, My Language Connection.

After loan funding enabled Victoria to invest in new technology, she has seen her business triple its headcount and expand its reach to serve international clients across the medtech and life sciences, engineering and construction, logistics, legal, oil and gas, education, and renewables sectors.

Victoria said: “Securing funding through the Start Up Loans programme was a crucial stepping stone in the growth of My Language Connection, enabling us to secure additional contracts and build a team of employees to support the commercial and operational side of the business.

“For early-stage companies and first-time entrepreneurs, the support offered is invaluable. There is no doubt that the early growth was boosted by the support we received from Start Up Loans.”

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said: “We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses that hail from each corner of the country, particularly in areas where people may struggle to access funding.

“The latest figures reflect the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small businesses at a grassroots level across many sectors and industries. We are proud that our loans, mentoring and support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs is helping to support the Build Back Better agenda.”

For more information about Start Up Loans, please visit www.startuploans.co.uk


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