Investment Fund for Scotland reaches £5m milestone

Panther M*lk

The British Business Bank’s Investment Fund for Scotland has agreed £5 million of deals to support the growth of small businesses just six months since the fund was launched to improve access to finance.

The milestone comes as five new debt funding deals – managed by FSE Group – have been confirmed to give businesses in the drinks, healthcare, recruitment and creative industries access to funding for growth.

Cosmetic surgery group Elanic Clinic; oat milk cocktail brand Panther M*lk; life sciences recruitment firm Entrust Resource Solutions; graphic design consultancy John Young Group; and a whisky labelling business have collectively secured £3.25 million of loans from the fund.

Earlier this year the bank announced the first equity deals from the Investment Fund for Scotland through fund manager Maven Capital Partners, supporting med-tech firms Carcinotech and Calcivis, while Kedras Clinics benefitted from the first loan from the fund via DSL Business Finance.

Based in Glasgow city centre, Elanic Clinic plans to use a £2 million funding package to support the development of its private healthcare facilities on Bath Street, with a new hospital space set to open towards the end of the summer.

The expansion will see the clinic open the most advanced operating theatre in the west of Scotland, triple its capacity to treat self-pay and private medical insurance patients and create 75 new jobs over the next couple of years.

Vivek Sivarajan, director at Elanic Clinic, said: “FSE Group and the Investment Fund for Scotland have provided a welcome boost to help with our expansion project.

“The state-of-the-art facilities will give the clinic new in-house capabilities to look after patients overnight, as well as enabling us to offer different types of treatments with industry-leading equipment for the likes of keyhole surgery.

“This funding has been critical in getting us one step closer to being ready to welcome the first patients.”

Also in Glasgow, drinks producer Panther M*lk agreed a £200,000 loan from the Investment Fund for Scotland to support the development of a first-of-its-kind small pack and other products.

Over the last year, the business has secured a range of grocery and on-trade listings for all four flavours of its alcoholic oat milk cocktails and is currently in talks with other major retailers to help scale up the brand and reach even more customers.

Panther M*lk founder Paul Crawford said: “I’d previously received funding support through the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme, which was a big benefit in the development of the brand two years ago.

“We’ve experienced rapid growth since then through our on-trade networks and retail deals but sought additional capital to help scale production and develop new products.

“We’re also looking at future export opportunities and partnerships with bars and hotels in major cities across the whole of the UK.”

The £150 million Investment Fund for Scotland was launched in October 2023 and offers loans ranging from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investments up to £5 million.

Mark Sterritt, Director, Nations and Regions Funds at the British Business Bank said: “It is great to see the impact that the Investment Fund for Scotland has delivered for smaller businesses across a diverse mix of sectors in only six months.

“The latest loans via FSE Group bring us to a milestone £5 million, which is helping several businesses to achieve ambitions for growth and expansion.

“The fund was established to support new and growing businesses with investment strategies that best meet their needs, whoever they are and wherever they are based.”

Norrie Cook, Head of Fund Scotland at FSE Group, said: “We are pleased to announce our first deals completed from the Investment Fund for Scotland.

“Since the fund launched our team have been inundated with enquiries from businesses across Scotland varying in size, sector, funding requirements and background.

“We are already seeing how hugely beneficial this fund is for the Scottish SME landscape and encourage businesses seeking finance to reach out to our team directly.”