The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has just issued its 75,000th loan, marking more than £623 million invested in small businesses since its launch in 2012.
Start Up Loans saw a significant rise in those issued since the start of the pandemic in the UK. May to July 2020 saw a total of £31.9 million of funding drawn down, compared to £22.9 million in the same period the previous year, an increase of more than 39 per cent.
July 2020 has been the record month for drawdowns since 2014, as restrictions eased and businesses started to re-open their doors to customers.
Of the people who received a loan since 2012, two fifths were women. One in five came from BAME communities and a third were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK start up community.
Start Up Loans has lent money and provided mentoring support to aspiring business owners in every region of the United Kingdom and its impact has been particularly noticeable in areas of deprivation, the Bank points out.
When split regionally, the North West received the highest number of loans outside London with a volume of 9,219 (12%) worth £74 million. The South East received 6,752 loans (9%) worth £60 million, followed by the West Midlands where a total of 6,198 loans (8%) were provided for a value of £50 million.
The recipient of the 75,000th loan was Helen Conway, from Blackwood, South Wales. Helen took out a loan of £25,000 to pay for the equipment and premises to open a new bakery. In March 2020 as the UK went into Lockdown, Helen and her daughter, Angharad, and son-in-law Lance, launched an online bakery delivery service, Ty Melin Bakery (Mill House).
And it paid off. Between April and August they generated a turnover of over £30,000, despite having to limit the number of items baked per day due to lack of space.
Helen said: “The three of us have been discussing the possibility of starting a family venture for several years and we drafted our initial business plan over two and a half years ago. Lockdown gave us the perfect opportunity to launch, as the nation became increasingly reliant on delivery services to help make their time at home more bearable.
“When our online shop opens at 9am on Saturday we usually sell out by 10am. We also introduced national delivery for one of our most popular products, the Croissant Bomb, and they sold out within 90 seconds.”
Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start Up Loans, said: “Start Up Loans’ 75,000th draw-down represents a major milestone for our operations, meeting a key policy objective from when we launched in 2012.
“Government backed finance for people looking to start their own businesses has never been more important than it is currently.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:“The Start Up Loans programme was set up to give funding and support to entrepreneurs who might otherwise struggle to access it, making a real difference to tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the country.
“Our plan to build back better will level up every region and sector of the UK economy, backing makers, doers and innovators regardless of background.”