Government's Start Up Loans scheme reaches £1bn in small business funding

Government's Start Up Loans scheme reaches £1bn in small business funding
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

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

Start Up Loans by region

View an interactive heatmap showing the amount of funding provided in each UK constituency here.

Relevant Enterprise Nation resources

Download The StartUp Kit for tips on starting a business

Access advice via Enterprise Nation's StartUp UK campaign

Book a free call with a finance expert

How to choose the right type of funding for you

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.