Bank’s unique approach helped nursery group to grow
A common call from businesses throughout the UK is that the banks aren’t supporting them, so this nursery story about a nursery’s businesses is refreshing, not least for its happy ending.
The story begins with Graeme Scott, CEO of Bertram Nursery Group, which has nurseries throughout Scotland and Northern England. Graeme, who’s dyslexic, had always shown an entrepreneurial streak and was inspired by other determined dyslexic former motor racer Jackie Stewart.
In 2001 Graeme had a conversation with a nursery nurse which resulted in them opening their first nursery. The first of 34 nurseries, employing about 750 people.
By 2007, all was going well, and banks well falling over themselves to develop the business, offering £18 million.
Then came the crash, and the attitude changed, and in Graeme’s words the bank went from ‘lend, lend, lend to how quickly can we get our money back. We had to repay somewhere in the region of £100,000 a month, and it was putting a huge, huge strain on the businesses.’
It didn’t stop there. The business stagnated, and refinancing was a dead-end with their own bank.
Enter Santander, who understood the business, the sector and appreciated the management team. They tackled the cash-flow challenges and extended repayments, and offered cash reserves.
“Santander’s solution was to take a five-year loan we had with out existing bank, and convert it to a 15 year loan,” says Graeme. It was a massive relief.
The relief was translated into investing into staff and facilities to create a better environment and experience for the youngsters at the nursery.
Now, with the help of Santander, the nursery businesses is focussing on growth.
Take a look at the video to see how Santander can help entrepreneurs, and click through to find out more about Santander’s unique Corporate and Commercial support.