Start up Loans Ambassadors 2022/2023

Two Dragon’s Den winners, a former Hollywood stunt double and a PhD graduate turned toymaker are among 12 business owners announced today as Ambassadors for the Start Up Loans programme. The announcement comes as the programme celebrates its 10-year anniversary, having provided more than £900 million in loans since 2012.

The annual Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme, now in its seventh year, celebrates exceptional business owners who have followed their ambition of becoming their own boss after receiving support from the government-backed Start Up Loans programme.

Drawn from each of the UK’s 12 Nations and regions, the 2022 Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s smaller business sector at a grass roots level. More details of the businesses selected from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England’s regions can be found further below.

This year the Start Up Loans programme celebrates its 10-year milestone. It was established as a £10 million pilot scheme by Lord Young in 2012, in the shadow of the financial crisis. His vision was to enable more young people to achieve their dream of setting up their own business, by offering affordable loans and expert advice to those who might otherwise struggle to access funding.

Since then, the programme has delivered more than 97,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £900 million of funding, while expanding to support entrepreneurs of all ages. 40% of loan recipients have been women and 21% people from minority ethnic backgrounds. 40% of recipients have been aged 18-30, reflecting the scheme’s continued support for the next generation of UK business owners.

start up loans ambassadors collage

Meet this years ambassadors

Start Up Loans

Pastéis Lisboa

In April 2022, Emma and Sebastian took out a loan of £20,000 each to set up Pastéis Lisboa, Scotland’s first specialist Pastel de Nata bakery, in the heart of Glasgow’s buzzing West End.

Read the success story about Pastéis Lisboa
Start Up Loans


Matt, a triathlete, outdoors-enthusiast, and Joby, a designer with a passion for running, took out a loan of £25,000 in April 2021 to launch Dryad, an outdoor sportswear company for women based in Wales.

Read the success story about Dryad
Start Up Loans

Mama Claudia

In 2018, Claudia took out a loan of £3,300 to launch Mama Claudia, a carefully selected range of baby and children’s products for stress-free parenting.

Read the success story about Mama Claudia
Start Up Loans


Dhruvin Patel took out a Start Up Loan of £500 through business support partner Virgin StartUp in 2015 to start his business Ocushield, an innovative line of products designed to protect eyes from the harmful blue light emitted by screens.

Read the success story about Ocushield
Start Up Loans


Joezy and his business partner Amy, took out funding from Start Up Loans to set up Naturawell in 2021, a plant-based bar and restaurant serving healthy and delicious food and drinks.

Read the success story about Naturawell