Case Studies
Ember's electric bus travelling down the road, with Edinburgh Castle in the background

Ember

Partner: Triodos
Region: Scotland
Location: Edinburgh
Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Coach company Ember was waiting to take delivery of its first fully electric vehicle when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Delays in the supply chain interrupted the business’ operations, while its financing fell through at the same time. As a result, the company sought support via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Read what it had to say in this CBILS case study.

British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your organisation does?

Pierce Glennie, director of Ember: Ember is a start-up business operating the UK’s first fully electric intercity coach services. The first route, from Dundee to Edinburgh, launched in October 2020 with further routes planned across Scotland.

How did COVID-19 affect your business, and why did this mean you needed a loan from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

We were expecting delivery of our first vehicle in March 2020, but due to the pandemic the delivery was set back by six months as the supply chain was disrupted. In addition, existing funding options fell through as vehicle lenders stopped providing finance to new customers, particularly those with a limited track record.

How did you find the application process?

We first approached Triodos Bank in March 2020 and outlined our requirements. At the time, Triodos was not a CBILS member but once it joined the scheme it was able to assess us for finance under the scheme.

The finance was approved by July, in plenty of time for us to draw down ahead of the vehicle being delivered in September. We didn’t need any external support to complete the application since Triodos were able to talk us through any questions we had.

 

Receiving the finance via CBILS has given us the confidence to keep going with our plans to provide modern, fully-electric coach services. We expect to be in a good position to accelerate growth further as we come out of the pandemic.

Pierce Glennie, director of Ember

 

What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a CBILS loan?

As with any loan, it’s worth being clear on why you need it and how you intend to pay for it. However, using CBILS is a great way to sidestep some of the short-term uncertainty around the pandemic that would otherwise make a lender reluctant to take a risk on your business.

How has the CBILS loan helped your organisation to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received it?

Without the loan, we wouldn’t have been able to complete the purchase of our vehicles and then launch the service. This would have set back the development of our business substantially and prevented us from hiring seven employees in Dundee.

Receiving the finance via CBILS has given us the confidence to keep going with our plans to provide modern, fully-electric coach services. We expect to be in a good position to accelerate growth further as we come out of the pandemic.

Find out more about Ember

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