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

Scott and Rebecca Masterton

THE COUPLE behind a flower and Christmas tree business in Lockerbie is 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 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.”

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