New figures from the Start Up Loans Company shows that it has lent over £20m to small businesses in Scotland since the scheme launched six years ago.
A total of 3,100 business in Scotland – and over 55,000 across the UK – have received low-interest loans from the government-backed scheme, with the average loan size in Scotland totalling £7,000.
Mechelle Clark, founder of Melt Aberdeen, Aberdeen’s first Grilled cheese sandwich shop, received a low-interest loan of £20,000 to set up her own business.
After being made redundant twice in the same year from the oil and gas industry, Mechelle was inspired by the London foodie scene to launch her own grilled cheese shop.
With the help of the low-interest loan, Melt Aberdeen has been trading for two years, serving up different toasties filled with quality local ingredients throughout the day.
Since launch, the business now generates a turnover of £129,829. Mechelle employs two full-time members of staff to service the business.
For over a year, the business has also been operating a ‘Meltmobile’ and plans to open a second store this year.
Mechelle said: “I’ve always had a passion for cooking, and after being made redundant and attending up to 60 job interviews, I decided enough was enough and it was time to set up my open business doing what I love.
“I saw there was a gap in the market in Aberdeen to try something different, to use local ingredients to move the 'toastie' up a level from the days of Brevilles and cheap white bread. The feedback I have received from customers has been incredible. People love the look of Melt, it instantly transports them to their childhood.
“There have been challenges along the way, such as the collapse of the local economy hit by the struggling oil and gas industry, but the financial backing I received from the Start Up Loans Company has helped my business grow from strength to strength. The mentoring scheme they offer has also been a bonus, with their advice being incredibly helpful.
Joanna Hill, managing director at The Start Up Loans Company, said: “It’s fantastic to hear success stories like Mechelle’s who have started their own business through our low-interest loans. Achieving £20million of lending to Scottish start-ups highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of budding business owners in the country.
“Start-ups are the backbone to the UK’s economy, so it’s fantastic to see small businesses like Melt Aberdeen flourish.”