Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
For this Welsh bespoke boat builder, COVID-19 couldn’t have come at a worse time. Having already suffered a major fire in its workshop, the business now had to contend with the cashflow challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Needing funds to restart production and avoid redundancies, the business applied for a loan 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 company does?
Matt Newland, director of Swallow Yachts: Swallow Yachts is a bespoke boat builder and designer based in Cardigan, Wales. We build between 25 and 30 boats a year, valued from £17,000 to £75,000 per boat. Though our core business remains in the UK and Europe, we do export to Japan, Australia and America as well.
How did COVID-19 affect your business, and why did this mean you needed funding?
The business suffered a serious double blow in 2020: first, a major workshop fire, then the added impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We needed funding that would not only ease our cashflow concerns during this trying period but enable us to return to production and retain our workforce.
How did you find the application process?
The CBILS loan was all agreed and drawn down very quickly. And having no interest or capital repayments for over 12 months gives us confidence in coming out the other side.
The workshop fire and impact of the pandemic put real pressure on our business, and resulted in us furloughing 80% of our employees. Luckily the support we’ve received has enabled us to return to production and retain our workforce.
Matt Newland, director of Swallow Yachts
Can you provide a specific example of how you used the funding to bring about a positive change (or changes) to your business?
The workshop fire and impact of the pandemic put real pressure on our business, and resulted in us furloughing 80% of our employees. Luckily the support we’ve received has enabled us to return to production and retain the workforce.
We’re also planning to further invest in computer-controlled machinery and we even use a 3D printer to produce some of our smaller bespoke components.
In what way did the funding help your business survive?
The loan is critical in getting businesses through this period. Like most businesses, we’ve felt an enormous strain on our cashflow.
We’ve faced a number of challenges over the years as we provide a luxury product, but we still continued to increase turnover every year as we maintained our strong marketing strategy.
We hope to emerge stronger and leaner from the experience and are optimistic for the future. Businesses will feel the impact of this pandemic for years to come, because the debt has to be repaid. But hopefully, when this is over, people will go out and support British business as a whole, to help get everybody back on their feet.