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Minister inspects Harry Potter knitwear made by Lochaven
Nov '09
West of Scotland businesses are set to benefit from new European funding secured by The West of Scotland Loan Fund (WSLF) which was announced today by Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism.

The organisation received £6 million from the European Regional Development Fund and forms part of a £15 million fund which will provide financial support to some 600 new and growing businesses over the next six years.

A WSLF loan can be used towards working capital, or the purchase of plant, equipment or a business property. Since its formation in 1996, the organisation has supported over 1,300 businesses which has helped towards the creation of over 5,000 new jobs, generating an additional £250 million of sales for the west of Scotland economy.

At the launch the Minister was joined by Gordon McLaren, Chief Executive, ESEP Ltd, the intermediate administering body for European Structural Funds, and Keith Murray, Managing Director of local textile manufacturer, Lochaven International Ltd, who are one of 600 companies to benefit from the loan fund.

Lochaven International has received two loans, totalling £50,000 which have enabled the company to diversify into export markets, in particular, the Far East. In the past twelve months Lochaven has won orders to supply unique garments to the four most prestigious retailers in Tokyo. They have also enjoyed success this year with new orders from high end Russian and US retailers.

The company also supplies knitwear to Warner Brothers for the Hogwarts uniforms which feature in the Harry Potter films and has just been commissioned to supply knitwear for the cast of the last two films currently in production.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said, "In a challenging economic climate, it is vital that we take advantage of initiatives such as the West of Scotland Loan Fund to support new and growing Scottish businesses.

"To help counter the impact of recession and position our economy for recovery, the Scottish Government has frontloaded the current European Structural funds programme.

"I am delighted to see the West of Scotland Loan Fund benefit from this decision, which will provide a real boost to more companies like Lochaven International, which has clinched a deal to supply knitwear for upcoming Harry Potter films - a fantastic success story for Scotland."

WSLF has already received applications for the new funding. Councillor Alan Brown, Chairman of WSLF added, "Safeguarding jobs and providing vital cash injection has never been more important to businesses and this funding will enable us to provide help where it is most needed".

The West of Scotland Loan Fund is a unique consortium of twelve west of Scotland local authorities working together to provide loan finance to new and growing small to medium sized enterprises within the west. The authorities include Argyle & Bute; East Ayrshire; East Dunbartonshire; East Renfrewshire; Glasgow; Inverclyde; North Ayrshire; North Lanarkshire; Renfrewshire; South Ayrshire; South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire. Since its formation the fund has provided loans of £23 million and since 1st April 2009, 69 SMEs have borrowed over £1.85 million.

Keith Murray, Managing Director, Lochaven International commented, "Cashflow is crucial to businesses and accessing the right funding when opportunities arise, as quickly as possible, is vital to help companies, such as ours, compete both domestically and internationally, and help structure growth. We've received two loans over the past two years and are grateful that the organisation was able to step in when gap funding was required".

West of Scotland Loan Fund Limited

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