Financial boost for start-up ventures in Highland and Moray

Issued by Highland Opportunity

Entrepreneurs in Highland and Moray are now able to access personal loans to help start their own business thanks to the new government-funded Start-Up Loans scheme which is locally delivered by Business Gateway and Highland Opportunity.
Loans are available to fund businesses that have not yet started trading, or have been trading for less than 12 months, and that cannot get finance through a bank. There is no arrangement fee for the loan, and the interest rate is fixed at 6%. Applicants must be UK residents, based in the UK, and over 18.
Loans will be available through Business Gateway – a lead partner in this new initiative from the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo). Highland Opportunity will be assessing applications and recommending the loans.
Marie Mackintosh, Chief Executive of Highland Opportunity said: “This new Start-Up Loans scheme is a welcome addition to the existing services Highland Opportunity offers – including Highland Opportunity loan funds, Business Gateway, Enterprise Europe Network, and Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland.
“Whilst the approval of a loan is ultimately decided by SULCo, our Business Gateway team will help clients to develop their business ideas, plans and skills, and Highland Opportunity will be assessing and recommending applicants to SULCo – increasing their chances of success. We have already had several applicants for this scheme who are progressing well with our assistance, and we look forward to welcoming more.”
Start-Up Loans is a national scheme, and there are other delivery partners offering these loans in Highland and Moray. Highland Opportunity and Business Gateway are uniquely placed, however, to offer a range of assistance and have unrivalled experience of providing local business support that will not only help clients to find the funding best suited to them, but to support them to make their business a success. 

Highland Opportunity has been providing business loans and support for Highland businesses for nearly 30 years and awarded £557,500 of loans last year. Its Business Gateway Highland and Moray staff also have extensive experience of assisting new businesses – helping over 380 businesses to start-up last year.

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of the Highland Opportunity Board, said: “This is a fantastic example of Highland and Moray Councils proactively working together to support local businesses and the local economy. Through our Business Gateway services, we are confident that clients will receive the highest standard of impartial and local support every step of the way: from guidance through the process and securing a loan, to developing a robust business plan, to skills training, to launching a sustainable enterprise, to ongoing support to help make their business a success. We are all eager to see the results.”
Councillor John Cowe, Chair of the Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Moray Council, said: “It is brilliant to see the launch of a scheme that is designed to assist new businesses, support the local economy, and stimulate enterprise and job creation. This provision of financial assistance through Business Gateway is new in Moray, and a very welcome development. I look forward to hearing about the new ventures this scheme assists and the benefits it, along with our existing services, brings to our area.”

For more information, Highland businesses should contact their local Business Gateway office. This can be found at or by calling the Inverness office on 01463 713889.


31 Jul 2014