SPONSORED CONTENT: DSL Business Finance helps local firms secure loan funding
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Despite the obvious adverse impact of coronavirus, the demand for alternative finance continues to keep Murray Marshall busy.
Now well established as DSL’s loan officer for the Highlands, Islands and Moray, he reflects with considerable satisfaction on what was a record year for DSL – disbursing more than £4.5 million worth of loans to start-up and growing businesses in Scotland; up from £3.3 million the previous year.
Murray's role is to help local businesses, including many who struggle to attract the interest of mainstream lenders and in the year to end March 2020, Murray supported 31 businesses in his area, providing some £545,000 of loan funding to businesses who would otherwise not have received support. This sum exceeds that for loans provided in the region for the two previous years.
He reflected: “Last year was a really good one for DSL and businesses in the Highlands, Islands and Moray specifically and while coronavirus has clearly had an adverse impact on our pipeline business we are now seeing a very definite increase in enquiries. This is due to a variety of reasons, not least that people seem to be prepared to make some decisions and advance plans which until now have been put on the backburner. Although there is a lot of uncertainty, life, and business, must go on and that positive attitude is great to see.”
Most of the money Murray helps his clients access is available through a Scottish Government backed loan scheme – the Scottish Growth Scheme.
This is marketed as the Scottish Microfinance Fund (SMF) and offers very competitive terms. Murray said: “This remains very competitively priced funding – six per cent fixed interest on loans up to £25,000 and also with no hidden fees or charges."
For businesses perhaps unable to obtain funding from mainstream lenders these loans continue to prove very attractive.
"And these are just the Scottish Microfinance Fund loans," Murray pointed out.
DSL is also the only Scottish based and headquartered official delivery partner of the Start-Up Loan Company (SULC) and has been actively providing SULC loans to clients throughout Scotland since 2014.
When asked about what a typical DSL client might be, Murray explained that there is no real norm.
Loans have been provided to clients in their early 20s starting their first venture right through to clients in their 60s, investing in a "lifestyle" business as they move into semi-retirement or are perhaps seeking a new challenge with 60 being the new 50.
The range of businesses is also wide and varied, although those involved in food, drink and tourism predominate in the Highland, Islands and Moray including businesses operating glamping pods and shepherd huts. It has also supported two management buy outs: a pizza takeaway in Nairn and an employment consultancy in Orkney.
"One of the more unusual businesses that we have supported is a new beauty range, Bubu Skincare, who have successfully launched into a competitive market," Murray said. "Entrepreneur Marion Morrison is the name behind the brand and through her many contacts has promoted her products through some high-profile stockists.
"We have also supported Tony Sargent from Moray to fulfil an ambition to operate his own woodworking business, The Crafty Wood Turner, specialising in hand-made furniture and garden features.
"DSL is there for you so to find out more why not get in contact with me. I will be pleased to hear from you."
Contact Murray by email at Murray@dsl-businessfinance.co.uk or call 07387 021225. More information online at www.dsl-businessfinance.co.uk
Loan officer for Highlands and Islands