Start Up Loans set to unlock the potential of NI entrepreneurs

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has set out its commitment to unlock the talent of hundreds of people in Northern Ireland by helping them to start their own business.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 6:00 am
Coleraine business owner Tracy McAllister, founder of BTS CONCEPT STORE

Start Up Loans part of the British Business Bank, has set out its commitment to unlock the talent of thousands more people across the UK by helping them to start their own business.

The disruptive impact of Coronavirus on the UK’s economy and traditional working patterns has catalysed many to reconsider their careers, whether because of additional time to reflect during lockdown, furlough or a change in employment status.

Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered over 387 loans to unemployed people in NI, worth over £2.1m. Since 2012, 30% of people to have received Government-backed funding in the region were unemployed.

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Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start Up Loans

Of the 80,000+ Start Up Loans recipients across the UK since 2012, a third (31%) were unemployed at the time of application. Start Up Loans data also indicates that the scheme is particularly effective in enabling young entrepreneurs to start up a business, with millennials representing more than half (54%) of all previously unemployed loan recipients since 2012.

The Start Up Loans scheme has also seen this trend continue with the youngest generation of entrepreneurs, with double the number of Gen Z (18-24 year old) applicants using the scheme as a route out of unemployment in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Start Up Loans scheme was initially set up as the UK economy was recovering from the 2008 credit crisis, with a mission to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance. Building on a nine-year track record of success, the scheme is set to play a vital role as our economy starts to rebuild after the impact of Covid-19, providing both funding and wider support for people starting up their own business for the first time.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans, said: “Start Up Loans is uniquely positioned to drive the nation’s investment in creative, entrepreneurial talent of any age, thanks to our extensive network of delivery partners and support services. As well as a loan, we support individuals with the practical steps they need to take to begin their own enterprise from writing business plans, accounting and marketing, as well as access to learning with partners such as The Open University.

“It is paramount that we do everything to empower the next generation of young working talent, who have an important part to play in unlocking the UK’s economic recovery, by giving them every chance to succeed, whatever their circumstances. Unemployment can have a catastrophic impact on an individual’s financial security, self-confidence and ability to apply for finance from lenders, and the support provided by Start Up Loans can be of particular use to younger, less experienced business owners.”

UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully, explained: “NI gave the world artificial fertiliser, milk chocolate and Derry Girls, and the UK Government is doing everything it can to champion that world-leading innovation and entrepreneurial spirit through the British Business Bank. The Start Up Loans programme has helped more than 1,200 pioneering NI businesses to get off the ground, including many owned by young or unemployed people, and so I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in NI to explore the support on offer from the UK Government.”

Coleraine business owner Tracy McAllister, founder of BTS Concept Store, continued: “The best part about being your own boss is the freedom; the feeling that I am following my dream. What I put in I get out. I also love that my customers love my store and product range. It keeps me motivated and makes me want to keep things fresh. Firstly, have a strong, cohesive vision for your business and be passionate about it.”

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director of Start Up Loans Delivery Partner, Virgin StartUp, added: “Virgin StartUp exists to help founders in the UK to start and scale early stage businesses. We’re proud to be working with the British Business Bank to deliver the Start Up Loans scheme to ensure that applicants receive the right combination of funding and support, to not only start up and survive, but thrive. Small businesses have such a vitally important role to play as we look to rebuild communities, the economy and the world more broadly. We look forward to continuing to work with future founders, in our shared mission to inspire entrepreneurs around the UK.”

The Start Up Loans programme provides finance and support for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle to access other forms of finance, working with a national network of Delivery Partners based across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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