Lending to entrepreneurs and small businesses outside London through the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme has passed the £600 million mark.
The government's Start Up Loans scheme has provided £600 million in loans to businesses outside London, delivering support for entrepreneurship across the UK's home nations and regions.
Businesses and entrepreneurs in the North West of England have received the most loans outside London, totalling over £94 million, with those in the South East receiving over £81 million, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber with over £68 million.
Aspiring business owners receive up to £25,000 through the Start Up Loans scheme, which is run by the British Business Bank. The scheme also provides mentoring.
Small business minister Paul Scully said: "There is so much creativity and dynamism across the UK, but without access to funding and support it's difficult to fully unlock the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country great. The Start Up Loans programme has helped a diverse range of entrepreneurs across the UK to get their business ideas off the ground, levelling up the entire country and enabling talented business leaders from all backgrounds to flourish."
The latest figures show that:
- 40% of Start Up Loans have gone to women business leaders
- 20% have gone to people from an ethnic minority background
- 35% have gone to those who had previously been unemployed
The recipient of the 600 millionth pound from the Start Up Loans programme was Will Smith, from County Down in Northern Ireland. He took out a loan of £6,000 to launch Woodwork by Will, a bespoke wooden furniture company, using the money to invest in essential machinery.
He said: "The support I have received from the British Business Bank has accelerated my business 12 months beyond where it would have been. I found the whole process with the Bank very straightforward and would have no hesitation in recommending Start Up Loans to other entrepreneurs. I would go as far as saying that if you are serious about growth this type of investment early on is essential, provided you are determined to put the work in.
"The mentoring elements would particularly suit someone who is starting their own business but doesn't necessarily have a business background. I was offered mentoring from successful entrepreneurs on areas such as marketing, legal issues and insurance that kept me on the right track from the start."
Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said: "We have always been committed to providing support and funding to SMEs that hail from each corner of the country, particularly in areas of deprivation where people may struggle to access funding, and this milestone is tribute to that."
The Start-Up Loans Company was formed in June 2012. It provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a 6% fixed interest rate per annum and offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business. The scheme has delivered more than 87,000 loans, providing more than £779m of funding in all.
Written by Rachel Miller.