A £4,500 cash boost has allowed Isle of Lewis resident Marie Gillies to launch her own business – from her converted shed.
Ms Gillies founded her home fragrance company ScentiNess in April after turning her shed into a bespoke workshop thanks to funding from Business Gateway.
ScentiNess produces candles, wax melts and reed diffusers.
The business initially began as a hobby, with Ms Gillies starting it alongside her full-time job as a Harris Tweed weaver.
However, lockdown gave her time to develop her spark of an idea into a business, and she approached Business Gateway for support as she set about launching ScentiNess.
Ms Gillies said: “Business Gateway’s package of start-up support has been vital for me as I’ve set about turning my hobby into a business.
“Through them, I was able to gain access to the wider business support network in the Western Isles and Scotland.
This funding was critical to helping my business get off the ground and scale up from my kitchen table.”
“This funding was critical to helping my business get off the ground and scale up from my kitchen table.”
Funding got business off the ground
Ms Gillies was awarded a £2,500 grant through the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Start Up Scheme, which is fully funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and accessed a £2,000 loan through the Comhairle’s Revolving Loan Fund, both of which are delivered by Business Gateway.
She also accessed support through DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital training programme, and using this knowledge, launched a new website and social media pages for ScentiNess to increase brand awareness.
Fiona Chisholm, Business Gateway adviser, said: “For many new businesses, funding and grants are vital to ensuring start-ups can purchase vital equipment that will help them get off the ground.
“Our advisers are perfectly placed to support this, boasting connections with a variety of business support organisations across the country and knowledge about potential funding options.
“For Marie, this has meant a successful launch for ScentiNess, with the opportunity to pursue a new career direction.”