Posted: Thu 14th Sep 2023
The government's flagship funding scheme for small businesses has now lent more than £1bn in loans.
Launched in 2012 following an idea first conceived by former business and trade secretary Lord Young, Start Up Loans has provided finance to 105,109 businesses, at an average of £9,547 per loan.
Business owners in London have received the most loans with over £201.3m lent. This is followed by the North West (£121.6m), the South East (£110.4m), Yorkshire and the Humber (£89.9m) and the South West (£84.9m). Almost 70% of loans have gone to businesses outside London and the South East.
Of the £1bn in loans, nearly 40% have been lent to female business owners, with a total value of £371m, while 20% of loans totalling £201m have been lent to people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds.
Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said:
"The programme has supported some fantastic success stories, such as Castore, Pip and Nut and Toddle Born Wild, and helped unlock potential across the whole of the UK.
"The UK has entrepreneurs in every corner and our aim is to do even more going forward to help those that want to set up a business."
Wanchong Chen and Liang Zhang, founders of Liverpool-based wooden jewellery business Robin Valley, were the business owners whose loan took the scheme past the £1bn milestone.
They received £15,000 to purchase machinery and pay staff wages, which allowed them to expand production.
Wanchong Chen shared advice for entrepreneurs wanting to start or grow a business:
"Have the confidence to give it a go. If you don't try, you won’t know, and if you don't do it someone else just might. If you're prepared to learn on the job and learn from your mistakes, then you are well-placed to become a success."
Through the Start Up Loans scheme, business owners trading for up to three years can borrow between £500 and £25,000 at a fixed annual interest rate of 6%.
In September 2022, the scheme added the ability for business owners trading between three and five years to borrow a second loan.
Start Up Loans by region
View an interactive heatmap showing the amount of funding provided in each UK constituency here.