British Business Bank expands Start Up Loans programme in Northern Ireland

  • Providing vital support to start ups during a challenging economic period, the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has expanded. 

    The programme now includes start ups that have been trading for up to three years and second Start Up Loans are now available to eligible businesses that have been trading for up to five years. The programme previously provided finance to start ups which had been trading for up to two years.

    Start Up Loans’ expansion follows the 2021/22 Spending Review, at which the government made the commitment to provide 33,000 loans to the programme over the next three years. 

    The scheme has already delivered more than 1,000 loans worth more than £12m to new business owners in Northern Ireland since 2012.

    Start Up Loans provides funding at a fixed interest rate of 6%, as well as 12 months’ mentoring to its recipients, further supporting aspiring business owners in every corner of the United Kingdom. 

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    Commenting on the expansion, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The people of Northern Ireland are some of the most entrepreneurial in the UK. This is especially true when it comes to micro-businesses, which make up 89% of the business community. By expanding upon the £12million in Start Up Loans Northern Irish businesses have already received, we can harness that pro-business culture and channel it into a bright future filled with jobs, growth, and sustainability.”

    Start Up Loans’ impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure loans from traditional lenders.

    Will Smith, founder of Ballywilliam Barn took out two loans totalling £6,000 to launch it in January 2020 to follow an ambition of making his bespoke creations available for others to buy.

    The support Will received from the British Business Bank has enabled the company to increase its capacity and take on larger projects earlier than expected. He used the money to invest in essential machinery, including a table saw.

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    Speaking about the support he received, Will Smith said: “When I started my business, I felt nervous and anxious, but I was determined. I was nervous that people wouldn’t like my furniture and anxious about taking the financial leap, but I really believed that my business would work.Having access to the second Start Up Loan helped enormously and I now offer clients far more than I ever anticipated. As well as handmade furniture I now offer bespoke kitchen fittings and I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings.”

    Susan Nightingale, Devolved Nations Director, UK Network, also added: “The extension of the programme will enable us to work with those businesses that had perhaps just got going when the pandemic hit or are ready to consolidate and grow their businesses now that they are back on their feet. We want to ensure that these businesses do not get left behind. We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses across Northern Ireland, with entrepreneurial ambitions across all industry sectors.”

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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