2021 has seen us supporting more businesses than ever before, with many finding new ways of navigating unprecedented market challenges. The resilience of our customers is incredible, so we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the strength, spirit and impact they have made across the South West.

Here are just some of the brilliant businesses we have supported during 2021:

The Real Olive Company – Led by directors Ben Flight and Karin Andersson, The Real Olive Company is a real success story. Having started out with a stall at St Nicholas market in 1998, the company’s products are now stocked nationally through some of the biggest names in food retail. We supported Real Olive with CBILS funding to mitigate against some of the recent market disruption and put the business on a firm footing to take advantage of new growth opportunities. Read the full story here.

Sonny Stores – Owners Pegs Quinn and Mary Glynn started their small-scale artisan pizza and gelato takeaway service in March 2020. As a true testament to their agility, the business has pivoted its business model several times to adapt to the changing restrictions. Having transitioned from a takeaway service into a fully-fledged restaurant, a second Start Up Loan helped the couple to invest in their own premises. Find out more about their journey here.

Twynham House Nursery School – The business received a CBILS-backed loan to ensure that they could continue to provide essential childcare for the key workers in their local community throughout the lockdowns. Business owners Nikhil and Esha Kapila plan to further develop a network of nurseries, ensuring that their ‘one-of-a-kind’ appeal is translated into each nursery. The funding helped to safeguard 14 full-time jobs. Learn more about Twynham House Nursery School here.

White and Sons Shoes – At a time when many businesses were exiting our highstreets, Steve and Sarah Ryrie breathed new life into White and Son Shoes in Fore street, Sidmouth, following a period of enforced closure. We supported Steve and Sarah with a combination of CBILS-backed and Start Up Loan funding. Through purchasing this long- established business, Steve and Sarah have helped to secure 4 local jobs, as well as create 1 new role, with further opportunities likely to be created in the future. Learn more here.

Norse Hawk Activity Centre – Business owner Sophie Petrie was inspired by Viking culture and their thirst for adventure, and she wanted to translate this into a modern activity centre where “fitness and outdoor activities meet art”. As Devon’s latest tourist attraction, Norse Hawk Activity Centre has, with the help of a Start Up Loan, boosted the local economy following a period of economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sophie is planning to create up to 6 new full-time jobs over the next three years. Find out more about Norse Hawk Activity Centre here.

BiJimini Spices – This sustainable food brand received a Start Up Loan to help launch the business. Their first product to market was a Cajun spice created using edible insects, designed to tackle the harmful environmental impact of industrial meat production. The product is aimed at consumers who want to make eco-friendly choices when it comes to their protein sources. It has enormous nutritional benefits, particularly for athletes, as well as those who may be on a restricted diet and require additional protein. Read more about BiJimini Spices here.

Let’s Get Naked – Entrepreneur Jade Harvey was inspired to start her own plastic-free journey while she was living in Australia. Having returned to the UK, Jade accessed a Start Up Loan to launch her own plastic-free refill shop. The business has been well-received by its local community and Jade is helping more and more people to start their own plastic-free journey. Find out more here.

Bristol Cider Shop – The disruption caused by COVID-19 was the catalyst for this business to pivot its business model from a bricks-and-mortar retailer into an e-commerce business. It was an incredibly successful transition which led to a significant boost in sales. As their customer base grew, the business needed to move to larger warehouse premises and take advantage of growing market opportunities, which was made possible with the support of a loan backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme. Read more about their journey here.

As we enter 2022, we’re looking forward to supporting even more ambitious businesses and start-up ventures.

If you’d like to explore how we could help you, one of our business managers would be delighted to have an informal conversation.

About SWIG Finance

SWIG Finance is the South West’s leading Community Development Financial Institution. We are passionate about bringing social and economic benefits to people and places in the South West.

As the South West’s leading delivery partner for Start Up Loans UK, we provide Start Up Loans from £500 – £25,000. For more information visit https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/start-up-loans/

We also have business loans from £25,001 to £250,000, typically back by the Recovery Loan Scheme, for SMEs who can’t access sufficient funding from their bank https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/business-loans/

If you would like to have an informal discussion about your funding requirements, get in touch with our friendly and professional team to find out how we can help: info@swigfinance.co.uk / 01872 227 930.