£100 million support delivered to back next generation of UK’s small business owners

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The next generation of business leaders have received over £100 million worth of support from the Government backed Start Up Loan Scheme.

15,000 Start Up Loans worth over £100 million have now been issued to young business founders aged 18-24 since 2012.

The Start Up Loan Scheme is government backed finance delivered through British Business Bank, which has delivered over £1 billion in loans to SMEs across the country since the scheme launched in 2012.

The scheme provides invaluable support to young entrepreneurs who are looking to set up a small business – a group which often struggles to get business finance from other sources – and offers an effective pathway into employment, with almost a third of recipients aged 18-24 leaving unemployment thanks to this scheme.

Of all the loans distributed to entrepreneurs under 25, 39% have also gone to female business owners and 24% to business owners from ethnic minority backgrounds. Outside of London, the North West has received the highest volume of loans (1,992), followed by West Midlands (1,591) and the South East (1,291). London has received 3,099 loans in total since 2012.

Among those to receive one of these loans, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5m), hospitality (£5.8m) and arts and entertainment (£2.5m).

Access to finance is a key part of the refreshed Help to Grow Campaign, a one-stop shop for SMEs to find the information they need to start, scale up and grow their own business. The new site brings together the support on offer from the government into one place, making it quicker and more convenient to find the resources business leaders and budding entrepreneurs need to succeed.

Starting a business for the first time, particularly for younger entrepreneurs can be a daunting process. That’s why the government has also – for the first time ever – created a step-by-step guide on how to set up and grow a business in the UK as part of the Help to Grow website. 

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

“Every large firm started off as a small business and today’s aspiring young entrepreneurs could be the next success story. I urge them to explore how a Start Up Loan could launch their ambitions today.

“Through the British Business Bank, and the Help to Grow campaign, we’ve backed the next generation of business leaders with over £100 million in government backed finance and we’re not stopping there.”

The single biggest way we’re backing businesses is by creating the economic conditions for them to thrive, which is why the government is working hard to deliver on our priorities to halve inflation, grow the economy and cut debt. We’ve made significant progress and it’s clear the economy is turning a corner.

The government is also tackling a key issue affecting small firms – late payments. We are determined to make the UK the best place in the world to do business, which is why Minister Hollinrake launched the Prompt Payment and Cash Flow Review in 2023. Since the report was unveiled, we are looking at how to prosecute large firms who persistently and knowingly fail to adhere to the Payment Practice Reporting Regulations.

We’re also backing businesses through our £4.3 billion package to support SMEs with business rates, the Small Business Rates relief taking a third of properties out of paying rates completely, and extending the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief for a fifth year, we are helping businesses navigate challenging economic times.

Business owner Cory Hibbin, aged 20, is one of the recipients of a Start Up Loan. He took out a £14,500 loan in March 2023 to launch Techie Services. The company, based in Hastings, offers security solutions for residential clients, estates and corporate buildings, including CCTV, alarm systems and network management.

Cory doesn’t live with family or have any financial support from them so his aspiration of setting up Techie Services would not have been possible without the help of the bank’s funding.

He left school at 16 and started an apprenticeship as an IT engineer at a consultancy firm. After developing his skills, he started offering surveillance services on the side of this day job. The client was so impressed that they asked him to work for them full-time.

Cory, founder of Techie Services, said:

“I’m not the sort of person who can take on learning from behind a desk so I left school at 16 to do an apprenticeship with a local IT consultancy company. While working there, I was working on the side in the evenings and at the weekends. Having been there for four years, I felt like I had gained enough experience to start my own company, which is when Techie Services began. I started with one large client, who quickly recommended me to other businesses and individuals, so I took on five new clients in our first six weeks.

“It hasn’t been easy but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The money from Start Up Loans was invaluable in the success of the business – I used it to buy tools for installations as well as supplies for the office. While it might seem a big leap of faith to some people, you can’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place. I urge anyone 18 or above to look into the finance options available to them if they need a hand getting off the ground.”

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank said:

“It’s amazing to see people in their late teens and early twenties with such ‘can-do’ attitudes and motivation to achieve success in working life.

“Our £100 million funding milestone is a significant landmark and testament to the hard work of Start Up Loans, ensuring anyone with a good business idea like Cory’s, no matter their age, has the access to the funding needed to bring it to life. The impact of this on communities across the UK has been huge and we’re determined to keep backing aspirational young people with money and mentoring.”

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