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DSL provides more than £18.5m to Scottish SMEs supporting over 4,000 jobs

An alternative finance provider which supports enterprise in Scotland by providing loans of up to £50,000 to small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises, is celebrating its 25-year anniversary. Since the year 2000, DSL Business Finance Ltd has lent more than £18.5m to 1,275 organisations.

Loans delivered by DSL have helped create over 1,835 jobs, and maintained an additional 1,920, by supporting either the launch of new businesses or growth of existing ones. 

DSL’s loans have led to further injections of funding to new or growing businesses from the private and public sectors worth over £20m in the last 25 years. All loans have been provided to businesses, primarily based in more deprived communities, which have been unable to access finance from larger, traditional lenders.

Entrepreneurs who have benefitted from DSL’s loan support came together at a recent event to showcase their business’s growth and development, and illustrate how DSL’s funds have made a positive impact.

Kieran Aitken, founder of social enterprise, Orbit Enterprise Education, approached DSL Business Finance for a loan of £7,000 last year. Orbit works with 16 to 19-year-olds across the UK providing a comprehensive accelerator programme that helps them launch their own businesses and secure jobs.  Kieran used the funds to grow Orbit and expand its programmes into London, Manchester and Birmingham to help more young people turn their dreams into reality.

Kieran Aitken said: “I had tried other mainstream lenders but wasn’t able to secure finance to develop my business and take it to the next stage as we had not generated much by way of sales. The funds from DSL completely transformed Orbit and allowing me to widen our offering to support even more young people.

“Since Orbit has been able scale-up on a national level, we have reached 400 young people and helped over 60 businesses start and survive. These range from online sales ventures to hair and make-up salons. In the next year, we are planning to have a presence in 10 cities across the UK and have 1,000 young Orbiteers engaged in the programme.

Stuart Yuill, DSL’s executive director, commented on the 25-year legacy the organisation has created. He said: “It’s hugely rewarding to see first-hand how £18.5 million of loan funding since 2000 has helped people across the country start and grow their businesses since the turn of the century.

“As an organisation, DSL has itself grown over the years. We have developed great working relationships with a number of partner organisations and retained high-quality employees, some of whom have been at the heart of this development for over 20 years.  More recently our team has grown such that we are now able to provide a personal service throughout Scotland.

“Despite some uncertainty, the entrepreneurial spirit prevails, and people are not being deterred by current political and economic climates, hence it’s essential we continue to support Scotland’s growth and development.”

DSL Business Finance is also the Fund Manager appointed by the Scottish Government to deliver the Scottish Microfinance Fund (SMF), which provides loans of up to £25,000 to SMEs across the country as part of the Scottish Growth Scheme. Find out more about the Scottish Growth Scheme here.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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