Start Up Loans hits £1bn milestone of loans to UK small businesses

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has delivered more than £1bn of loans since its inception in 2012. The loans have been issued to 105,109 businesses, at an average of £9,547 per business.

Of those loans, the South East has received more than £110m in 10,639 loans across the region. The average loan amount in the South East is £10,378.

Local breakdown of loans

Of the £110m of loans in the South East, Hampshire was the county to receive the most funding, with over £21m of funds going to nearly 2,000 businesses. Kent received the second highest amount of funding, with £19m going to more than 2,000 businesses.

You can view an interactive heatmap which shows the amount of funding provided in each UK constituency here.

Supporting under-represented groups

The Start Up Loans programme provides a means of reaching under-represented groups who are excluded from mainstream finance by helping them start businesses.

Of the loans to make up £1bn, nearly 40% have been lent to female business owners, with a total value of £371m, and 20% have been lent to people from Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority backgrounds (not including White Minorities), with a value of £201m.

Just 4% of the UK’s small businesses in 2021 were majority-led by people from an ethnic minority group and only 20% of new businesses had female founders, according to The Rose Review.

Moreover, young people between 18-24 years old have received £106m (11%) in loans since the programme began.

Harbour & Tide, Margate

One Start Up Loans recipient is Katy Lassen, who borrowed £25,500 to grow Harbour and Tide. Harbour & Tide is a modern local beach store in Margate, offering sustainable products for seaside life.

The store was launched as a pop-up in 2022 and opened its first permanent location in Margate in Spring 2023. Katy Lassen took out a loan of £11,500 to kickstart her business, followed by a second loan of £14,000 earlier this year to help with the renovation of her new store.

Katy said: “Harbour & Tide came to life during the pandemic when I realised I didn’t want to return to the London commute.

“Instead, I yearned for the flexibility of running my own business close to home, allowing me to mould work around my personal life. With the backing of Start Up Loans, my vision became a reality, and Harbour & Tide was born.

“Throughout this journey, I’ve discovered how well my past experiences align with entrepreneurship—an unexpected realisation. To those contemplating the leap, uncertain about their experience, I wholeheartedly encourage you: take the plunge. Your array of transferable skills might pleasantly surprise you.”

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said: “We’re proud to support inspirational businesses like Harbour and Tide that look to embed sustainability and sustainable practices into everything they do.

“Harbour and Tide’s success is an example of the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit and I hope they inspire others who may be considering business ownership to look into their options.”

The Start Up Loans programme has been shown to be value for money to the UK taxpayer, with an independent review showing the economic benefits of the scheme are 5.7 times the economic cost.

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