An award-winning West Lothian nursery chain is expanding with support from Clydesdale Bank.
Wee Gems, which operates popular day nurseries in Broxburn and Livingston, has purchased Croileagan Nursery in Edinburgh with the assistance of a £270,000 funding package from Clydesdale Bank. The deal, which has created 10 new jobs, was facilitated by Andrew McGeorge, business development manager with Clydesdale Bank’s Regional Business and Private Banking Centre in Edinburgh.
Founded in 2005 with the opening of the Broxburn site, Wee Gems established a second facility in Livingston just two years later following parental demand. Together, the nurseries are registered to care for more than 200 children.
The business recently purchased Croilegean Nursery, in the Corstorphine area of Edinburgh, after its previous owners decided to retire. Following a full refurbishment, the facility has been rebranded as Wee Gems Croilegean, paving the way for further expansion of the group in Edinburgh.
The acquisition has increased from 65 to 81 the number of staff employed by the business, with plans to create a further 10 new jobs at Wee Gems Croilegean. The nursery is currently registered to care for 55 children, but it expects to increase that number to about 62.
Key to the success of the group is its emphasis on providing quality childcare. Its senior team includes a qualified primary school teacher with extensive experience in pre-school education, and a number of staff educated to degree level. All employees undertake regular training and many are studying for additional qualifications.
The chain has also won wide acclaim locally for its high standard of facilities, including well equipped outdoor play areas that are designed to support active learning. Accolades include the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards for Best Customer Service in 2006. The chain has also been a finalist in the High Business Growth category of the same awards.
The Wee Gems group was founded by local entrepreneur Mahyar Mortazavi, who has more than two decades of business development experience. He is also active in several local business organisations and has worked in a voluntary capacity with the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust.
Turnover is expected to grow from £1.3m to £1.7m this year.
Mahyar said: “With its long-standing reputation for quality, Croilegean Nursery was a perfect fit for our group, but we were running out of time to conclude the deal.
“Incredibly, Clydesdale Bank was able to arrange a suitable funding package in just one week, enabling us to secure the nursery’s purchase and the future of its staff.
“After a full refurbishment – including a new climbing frame that the children love – Wee Gems Croilegean has now been fully integrated into the group, offering our trademark high quality facilities and high standards of care.”
Derek Breingan, Clydesdale Bank’s head of healthcare, said: “We welcome the opportunity to help Wee Gems expand its provision of quality childcare services.
“Since the group was founded in 2005, Wee Gems has become renowned for its high standard of facilities and its caring, well qualified staff. Its investment in providing the best learning environment possible for young children is benefiting families and the business alike.”