Start Up Loans provides more than £10m of finance to 18-24-year-old South East entrepreneurs

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, today announces that it has provided more than £100m worth of funding to business owners aged between 18-24 years old, equating to more than 15,000 loans since the programme launched in 2012. From that national total, more than £10m of funding has gone to 1,291 Gen Z businesses in the South East.

According to new data, Crawley has received the most funding, followed by Chichester and then Dartford. Of those to receive a Start Up Loan across the UK, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5m), hospitality (£5.8m) and arts and entertainment (£2.5m).

The funding milestone comes as the Start Up Loans programme launches a new campaign to help students access information about the Start Up Loans scheme and encourage them to make their business dreams a reality.

The advertising campaign is running across 54 UK cities. Students simply need to scan the QR code on posters and screens around their college and university campuses and surrounding areas to access the information on offer. 

The new data also shows that the programme’s impact has been particularly noticeable among young entrepreneurs from across the UK, with 16.5% of all loan recipients aged 18-24 being unemployed before they got their loan.

Of all the loans distributed to entrepreneurs under 25, 39% have gone to female business owners and 24% to business owners from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Cory Hibbin, aged 20, is just one of these recipients. He took out a loan in March 2023 of £14,500 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 Start Up Loans 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 of 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 and its business support partners, in giving people with a good business idea like Techie Services, no matter their age, the chance to access the funding needed to bring it to life. We’re determined to keep backing aspirational young people with money and mentoring.”

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. 

Businesses can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.

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