New business loan scheme
Funding for Borders food hygiene firm Scotmas
Exciting times: Ewan, Derek and Alistair Cameron
A food and water hygiene company, which has grown from a home-based business to become a major local employer, has secured one of the first to receive funding from a new business loan scheme.
Scotmas Group, which manufactures insect repellent and water disinfection products for markets worldwide, employs 42 staff at two sites in Kelso, and a further 10 in Chile, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The loan, secured through Business Loans Scotland, forms part of a £665,000 investment package that also includes a £97,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise towards the hire of a further 12 staff this year. Scottish Enterprise has worked with the company for over a decade.
The funding will help the family-business buy its new 27,000 sq ft premises in Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate, Kelso, and purchase upgraded equipment.
Alistair Cameron, managing director, said: “These are exciting times for Scotmas as we enter our 20th year.
“We have ambitious plans to scale-up our operations in response to significant global interest in our innovative new water treatment products that have been developed alongside a number of university partners, and are now being rolled out across the Middle East and Africa.
“Securing the funding package has taken a team effort and we are grateful for the significant support we’ve had from HSBC and for the help received from Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway.”
The company was created in 1998 by Alistair’s father Derek who was working in African and spotted a gap in the market for a new and effective biocide – chlorine dioxide – that could protect food supplies from bacterial spoilage due to heat and hygiene issues.
Initially operating from his home with three employees, he was quickly joined by his sons, Ewan and Alistair, and over the past 20 years the company has helped protect countless people and environments from dangerous bacteria and contamination across Europe, the Middle East, and southern Africa.
Regarded as one of the world’s leading specialists in chlorine dioxide application technology, Scotmas now plans to expand its reach into Asia and South America in 2018.
Alistair said: “Our technology helps save lives, and our most recent innovation, a hydro-electric powered water disinfectant system is currently helping to clean and disinfect water without the use of solar power in Botswana. It took over three years, and a significant amount of support from Scottish Enterprise’s innovation team, to develop the product which is now attracting interest from across the world.”
Business Loans Scotland is backed by a consortium of all 32 Scottish local authorities and can provide loans of up to £100k to new and growing SMEs across Scotland. Loans can be used for working capital, to purchase plant and equipment or business property. Successful applicants must secure 50% match funding to be eligible for a loan.