An international foundation has named a Scottish business which makes pet cabinets and vivariums one of the UK\u2019s \u201cmost exceptional businesses\u201d.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAquapac, started by Stephen Connachan in 1995, has been named one of three finalists across the UK for the \u2018Growth\u2019 award in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by investment firm CitiGroup's business funding organisation the Citi Foundation.\r\n\r\nThe awards are the annual celebration of Britain\u2019s microentrepreneurs that have accessed \u201cresponsible\u201d business finance, and the three \u201cGrowth\u201d award finalists are in the running for a \u00a37,500 cash prize.\r\n\r\nAquapac 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 \u2013 to house lizards \u2013 and relocated to a 50,000 ft2 factory in Cumbernauld in 2017.\r\n\r\nThe 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 \u00a33m per year.\r\n\r\nAquapac 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.\r\n\r\nStephen 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\u2019s growth, and the 32 jobs created over the past two decades.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy 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."\r\n\r\nThe winners of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards will be announced on 13 March 2019 at a ceremony in Liverpool.