25,000 businesses take up start-up loan scheme

Thursday 22 January 2015

A total of 25,000 business loans have been approved under the government's Start Up Loan scheme.

This scheme is open to entrepreneurs who are setting up a business, providing them with financial support and mentoring.

Under the scheme, the total amount that has been lent out to new firms has reached close to £130 million.

The Start Up Loans scheme is a £310 million government-funded initiative that can give start ups support in the form of a repayable loan and the help of a business mentor. It is available to entrepreneurs across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Funding for this scheme is provided through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is administered by the British Business Bank, which is 100 per cent owned by the government. This bank is intended to ensure finance markets for smaller businesses work better so that the sector can build economic activity.

As well as helping to support businesses directly, the government says that the Start Up Loan scheme has helped to generate more employment. Figures from the Start Up Loan Company show that over 32,000 new jobs have been generated because of the scheme since it was launched in 2012.

The most recent person to have a loan approved through the scheme is Nicola Weeks from Bedford, who is the 25,000th entrepreneur to have had her loan approved.

Ms Weeks applied for a loan of £8,500 to fund her wedding business George James Bridal, following a career in acting. She got her loan through Foundation East and said that the process was very efficient and straightforward. Ms Weeks also praised her mentor for the support that she got.

Speaking about the scheme, prime minister David Cameron said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and supporting them to get off the ground and create jobs and opportunities for hardworking people is a key part of our long-term economic plan.

"That’s what our Start Up Loans are all about – it’s great news that 25,000 loans have now been issued, giving people who want to work hard and get on the tools and confidence to turn their entrepreneurial vision into a reality."

Business secretary Vince Cable echoed the idea that the Start Up Loans scheme is helping thousands of entrepreneurs up and down the country to start up their own business and realise their ambition.

He added: "Helping businesses to access the funds they need to grow is key to our recovery and through schemes like Start Up Loans the government is supporting serious volumes of lending to small and medium sized businesses."

Chairman of the Start Up Loans Company James Caan CBE said that reaching the 25,000 mark in creating business loans is a significant achievement. He added that he thinks the government, the Start Up Loans Company and also the recipients of the loans should be proud.

There are other methods of support that are open to those who are opening their own businesses and looking to grow. These include a new Employment Allowance that can ensure small businesses have £2,000 put back in their pockets.


By Victoria McDonnell

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