Not-for-profit lender marks record year of supporting enterprise across Scotland

Stuart Yuill, DSL Business Finance executive director

NOT-FOR-PROFIT lender DSL Business Finance had a record year in 2019, providing funding of £4.5 million to small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises in Scotland, up from £3.1m in 2018.

The Glasgow-headquartered alternative finance provider supports enterprise in Scotland by offering loans of up to £50,000* to organisations that would not generally be able to access traditional sources of funding.

DSL has increased its loan book dramatically in the last five years – in 2015 it provided total funding of £917,502. Its funding gives a major boost to the Scottish economy by supporting entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses.

Between January and December 2019, DSL gave 207 loans to 173 enterprises and the average loan size was £21,616. This funding created 233 new jobs and maintained 1,012 existing positions.

DSL loans also led to further injections of funding, totalling £1.8m from the private sector and £318,150 from the public sector last year.

One business benefiting from DSL funding is the Nether Bow Café and Bistro on Edinburgh’s High Street, run by husband and wife team Levent and Filiz Celik who have more than 17 years of combined experience in the hospitality trade. They had always wanted to run their own business and in April 2018 the opportunity arose to take over the coffee house they were working in and develop it as a café and bistro. 

DSL provided the couple with a loan to refurbish the property, which included opening up the kitchen preparation area, increasing the customer cover space to 40 and other modernisation to allow the business to grow.  The restaurant employs up to 11 people during the busy Edinburgh Festival season and has been proving popular with customers.

The hard work of DSL in supporting small and medium sized enterprises has also been recognised recently. DSL and two businesses it funded have been shortlisted in the Responsible Finance Citi Foundation’s  Microentrepreneurship Awards, an annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs who have accessed alternative  business finance from a Responsible Finance member.

DSL is a finalist in the Resilient Award category, up against other responsible finance providers from across the UK.

Zero waste store The Refillery, set-up in the southside of Edinburgh last year by entrepreneur Kelly Wright with funding from DSL, has been named as one of three UK finalists for an Environmental Sustainability of the Year award.

Former school friends Zander Macgregor and Allan Nairn who launched Wester Spirit Co in 2018, Glasgow’s first rum distillery for over 300 years, with funding from DSL, have been shortlisted in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Stuart Yuill, DSL Business Finance executive director, said: “Despite economic uncertainty, primarily around Brexit, it’s rewarding that we are able to support more small and medium sized enterprises than ever before across Scotland.

“We are already building on the record year we had in 2019 to continue to fund organisations and entrepreneurs that would otherwise struggle to get started or  grow. Our funding supports job creation and benefits the wider economy.

“I’m proud that our work, and the achievements of the organisations we fund, have been recognised by the Citi Foundation which celebrates entrepreneurship.”

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