FIFE-BASED AC Architects is using virtual reality (VR) technology to produce an immerse experience for its clients and give them an insight into how their new home will look. The company successfully applied for a £60,000 loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland to set up a VR suite in its office.
“One of the first clients we showed round their house in our VR suite started crying because they were blown away by getting such a realistic experience of their future home,” says Allan Corfield, who established the firm in 2010.
“It is always really rewarding to see clients react to their new home – we are usually not there with them, but they tend to send us videos or facetime us when they’re walking around their home first time.”
As well as funding his VR suite, the loan also enabled him to update other equipment and hire two workers.
“We did look at what our current bank could do and while we could get the same amount, the terms were worse,” Allan explains. “This loan ticked a lot of boxes for us in terms of the unsecured nature, the annual percentage rate and terms that suited our situation.
“From the point of being approved to getting the money, it was very quick. I would definitely recommend the fund to other business owners – it’s been a big help for us.”
UMi Debt Finance Scotland manages a £12 million loan fund under the Scottish Growth Scheme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to help accelerate the growth of Scottish businesses. The loans range from £25,000 to £100,000 and can be used for a wide range of purposes including capital investment, exports, innovation and product development.
The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme
Tom Brock, UMi Debt Finance Scotland Fund Director, said: “Business owners often find raising finance stressful and time consuming on top of the challenge of running and growing their business.
“When a business opportunity presents itself, SMEs have to move quickly and we can provide a streamlined funding process to allow them to focus on growing their business. A loan application can be done in minutes, and a decision is usually reached in under 20 days – which makes all the difference to business planning.”