A NELSON-based businessman has battled back from a coronavirus diagnosis to return to good health and secure a £200,000 loan to support his growth plans.

Gordon Profit, of Citrus Office Solutions, was diagnosed with the virus in early March this year after returning from a skiing holiday in Austria and was rushed to hospital where he spent seven days in intensive care.

However, Mr Profit was back on his feet and back at work within a week and ready to take on the unprecedented economic challenge as lockdown descended.

He said: “The past few months have been a huge challenge.

“We’ve not only had to deal with a drop in revenue, but also disruptions to supplies and logistics.”

Fortunately, the office supplies company which currently employs 18 members of staff was able to secure funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help see them through.

This has helped the company to adapt, delivering direct to workers’ homes, re-organising logistics, introducing a new PPE and sanitiser range and seeking out other new products and suppliers and to launch a its own branded workwear range.

Mr Profit said: “We are now in a much stronger position and recognise that changes of this type also bring opportunities – for example to make acquisitions or win new clients as companies seek more competitive suppliers.”

He added: “The funding will give us a breathing space to take stock, explore new possibilities and put our plans into action.”

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which proved useful to Citrus Office Group, is managed by the British Business Bank with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy.

It has now extended its deadline for new applications to November 30 and will hope that Mr Profit’s story will encourage other entrepreneurs to apply.

Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Steve Fogg said: “The way in which Citrus has adapted to a decrease in demand from established markets and identified new diversification opportunities is a brilliant example of creativity and resilience in these challenging times.

“We are increasingly hearing of Lancashire businesses showing real ingenuity to find innovative solutions in the wake of Covid-19 and it is fantastic that Citrus, and others, are able to make use of schemes such as CBILS to full effect and make the most of new market opportunities.''

To find out more about the CBILS, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme.