When Bill Scouller set out to expand his video technology start-up Odro, he found himself in a classic catch-22 situation.
The Glasgow entrepreneur needed to secure financing to attract the skilled staff who would be essential to survive the early days. But his regular bank wouldn’t lend him money because, as a newly established business, he had no accounts to show them.
Fortunately, Business Loans Scotland understood his predicament and agreed to provide Scouller with a loan of £40,000 in March 2018. Their faith has paid off, as Odro has won clients in the recruitment sector as far afield as the US and Australia, and with the help of another £50,000 loan, is about to open an office in London.
Scouller said: “The BLS funding has been invaluable in the growth of Odro. The funding has contributed to the creation of new roles within the business and we have grown from 12 staff to approximately 25 by the end of 2019.
“Our revenue has grown by over 100% in the past year. We have doubled our customer base and now have clients in US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and New Zealand. It is vital for early start businesses to have access to funding in order to grow the business and maximise the opportunity to create both jobs and grow company revenue.”
Odro is one of 38 business being supported by Business Loans Scotland, the Fund Manager for a £7 million loan fund which is fully financed through the Scottish Growth Scheme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Business Loans Scotland supports SMEs by typically providing up to 50% of the total funding package required. It has contributed to working capital, purchase of office premises, expansion into new markets and a management buy-out.
With fixed interest rates, repayment periods of up to five years and no additional fees or charges, the loans have been described by borrowers as an affordable solution to start or expand their business.
Andrew Dickson, fund manager of Business Loans Scotland, added: “It’s fantastic to see that our initial £40,000 loan to Odro has had such a positive impact on the growth of the company and so I’m delighted that Business Loans Scotland has been able to support Odro with a further loan of £50,000 to open their new London office. Our loans demonstrate our commitment to supporting small and medium sized enterprises with finance to grow, and I would encourage any Scottish SMEs looking for funding to contact us today to see how we can help.”