Start Up Loans hits milestone with more than £14.5m worth of loans issued to over 1,600 Northern Ireland firms

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

    A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive 12 months of free mentoring and access to resources to help them succeed.

    In Northern Ireland the scheme has delivered 1,647 loans, worth more than £14.5m, to new business owners at an average of £8,825 per loan.

    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 £14.5m, £5.4m (37%) has been leant to female business owners via 618 loans and £603,737 (4%) has been leant to people from Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority backgrounds (not including White minorities).

    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.

    RELATED: £70m Investment Fund for Northern Ireland preparing for autumn launch

    Backing 18-24s to start a business

    Young people in Northern Ireland between 18-24 years old have received more than £1.6m (11%) in loans since the programme began, however the most popular age range for loans here was 31-49 with more than 800 loans made totalling just over £8.1m.

    Local breakdown of the loans

    In Northern Ireland the council area with the most loans was Mid Ulster with 255 loans valued at more than £2.4m, followed by Belfast with 241 loans totalling more than £9.1m. 

    Case study: Vocus Vit, Omagh

    One recent Start Up Loans recipient is Omagh entrepreneur Sarah-Jane Murray. Sarah-Jane took out a loan of £10,000 to help fulfil her dream of launching sustainable activewear business, Vocus Vit.

    Vocus Vit offers premium activewear for ladies with a focus on sustainability. The range is made from recycled plastic bottles without compromising on comfort, fit and style.

    Sarah-Jane Murray said: “One of my biggest challenges was cashflow and I needed a loan to help me get set up. I remember thinking there is no way I was going to get a loan, but I applied to the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme and I was successful in getting a £10,000 loan.”

    Since taking the loan, Sarah-Jane hasn’t looked back and would encourage anyone with the ambition of starting their own business to see out similar opportunities to invest in their future.

    RELATED: British Business Bank expands Start Up Loans programme in Northern Ireland

    “One of the big benefits of this loan has been the flexibility and another benefit has been the mentoring you receive. I have learnt about profit and loss forecasts and social media marketing which, for someone new to business, has been invaluable.”

    Susan Nightingale, UK Network Director for the Devolved Nations, British Business Bank said“We are delighted the Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than £1bn worth of loans across the UK and more than £14.5 million in Northern Ireland.

    “We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses across Northern Ireland, with entrepreneurial ambitions across all industry sectors.

    “The delivery of over £14.5m in loans to Northern Ireland entrepreneurs highlights our continued efforts to help people achieve their business goals.”

    Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “Across the UK, thousands of small businesses have now been supported by over a billion pounds in Start Up Loans.

    “This crucial support is enabling enterprising companies like Vocus Vit start and scale up their ventures and I urge even more to follow in their footsteps.”

    Source: Written from press release 

Share this story