Start Up Loans Company becomes latest to join Capital Connections
The Start Up Loans Company has become the first Government-backed finance provider to join Capital Connections, an RBS-led scheme designed to help businesses access alternative sources of finance.
It joins a handful of other leading alternative finance firms – namely Seedrs, Funding Circle, Assetz Capital, iwoca, Together, and the RBS Social & Community Capital – in an exclusive partnership set up to help SMEs find alternative sources of capital commission-free after they’ve being unable to secure traditional financial backing.
Since launching in 2012, the Start Up Loans Company has provided more than £15m of funding to 2,500 business owners in Scotland. One of these is Can You Escape? – an Edinburgh escape room launched in November 2014 by Alastair Watson with the help of £6,500 funding from the Start Up Loans Company.
Case study – Can You Escape?
Founder Alastair Watson decided to launch the business – an interactive game in which players are required to solve a series of puzzles to unlock the room within a certain period of time – after spotting a gap in the market.
He noticed a lack of adventure games available in the Edinburgh area and approached the Start Up Loans company to try and secure the capital he needed to launch the venture.
After successfully securing the funding, Watson used the start-up loan to install game equipment and help ensure cash flow in the early stages.
Since then, Can You Escape? has been named Best Performing Small Business by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, as well as receiving a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Watson now employs six part-time members of staff to help run the business.
Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We are excited to announce that The Start Up Loans Company will be joining our Capital Connections programme. We are the biggest supporter of British businesses and in 2016 we lent almost £9bn to commercial companies and £1.6bn SMEs, an increase of 43% from the previous year.
“But it won’t always be possible for us to support all our customers with our own capital and it’s important that in these instances we do the right thing by helping them access other finance options. That’s why our Capital Connections programme is so important to supporting British businesses, enhancing their access to the borrowing which is essential for jobs and economic growth.”
Joanna Hill, Interim CEO of The Start Up Loans Company, said: “Start-ups often bring something fresh and innovative to an existing market, but they are often left at the back of the queue when it comes to accessing finance. By partnering with the Royal Bank of Scotland, we hope the Capital Connections programme gives budding business owners a second chance when they are unable to access traditional forms of finance.
“Since 2012, we’ve provided more than £15million to early-stage businesses across Scotland, with funding helping 2,500 business owners bring their start-up ideas to life. We’re looking forward to partnering with the Royal Bank of Scotland to give people a second opportunity to achieve their business goals.”