FIFE-based AC Architects is using virtual reality (VR) technology to produce an immersive experience for clients, giving them an insight into how their new homes will look.

The new technology is a result of a £60,000 loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland, which allowed the firm to set up a VR suite in its office.

As well as funding the suite, the grant also allowed the company to update other equipment and hire two additional workers.

Allan Corfield, who established the firm in 2010, said: “One of the first clients we showed round their house in our VR suite started crying because they were blown away by getting such a realistic experience of their future home.

“It is always really rewarding to see clients react to their new home – we are usually not there with them, but they tend to send us videos or FaceTime us when they’re walking around their home for the first time.”

UMi manages a £12 million loan fund under the Scottish Growth Scheme to help accelerate the growth of Scottish businesses. The loans range from £25,000 to £100,000, and can be used for a wide range of purposes including capital investment, exports, innovation and product development.

“We did look at what our current bank could do and while we could get the same amount, the terms were worse,” Corfield explained.

“This loan ticked a lot of boxes for us in terms of the unsecured nature, the annual percentage rate and terms that suited our situation.

“From the point of being approved to getting the money, it was very quick. I would definitely recommend the fund to other business owners – it’s been a big help for us.”

Tom Brock, UMi’s fund director, said: “When a business opportunity presents itself, SMEs have to move quickly and we can provide a streamlined funding process to allow them to focus on growth.”