Lizard cabinet maker recognised in Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards

An international foundation has named a Scottish business which makes pet cabinets and vivariums one of the UK’s “most exceptional businesses”.

Aquapac, started by Stephen Connachan in 1995, has been named one of three finalists across the UK for the ‘Growth’ award in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by investment firm CitiGroup’s business funding organisation the Citi Foundation.

The awards are the annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed “responsible” business finance, and the three “Growth” award finalists are in the running for a £7,500 cash prize.

Aquapac was originally established to design a range of self-assembly cabinets to support aquariums. Since then the firm has invested heavily in woodworking machinery, software, recruitment and training. The company created the reptile enclosure range, VivExotic – to house lizards – and relocated to a 50,000 ft2 factory in Cumbernauld in 2017.

The company has grown from three family members to 32 staff to date creating high quality jobs with further plans to reach 50 staff. It has doubled its turnover from 2016 to 2018, reaching £3m per year.

Aquapac has been supported by three business loans from Glasgow-based finance provider, DSL Business Finance, which have supported expansion of the business and funded investment in technology, purchase of equipment and working capital.

Stephen Connachan of Aquapac said: “I attribute our success to some key contributors which rose to the challenges placed on a small independent business, helping it grow when more traditional solutions are not available. The availability of alternative funding through DSL Business Finance Ltd has meant the difference in success or failure in our company’s growth, and the 32 jobs created over the past two decades.

“My thanks to Nicola, Sandra, Mujeeb, and the whole team at DSL for their contributions to our success. And we are glowing at the recognition of our achievements in a very competitive marketplace through becoming finalists in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Award for Growth.”

The winners of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards will be announced on 13 March 2019 at a ceremony in Liverpool.

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