Nicola Weeks from Bedford, was today awarded the 25,000th Start Up Loan. Nicola is one of many women who chose to start a business through the Start Up Loans scheme, with over a third of all lending going to women.
Encouragingly, this stands in contrast favourably to the national average of 17% of all small businesses being started by women, and underlines the role women are increasingly playing in driving the UK economy and creating employment.
Nicola applied for a Start up Loan of £8,500 to finance her business George James Bridal. The company, launched in January, is an exclusive bridal boutique based in Bedfordshire. They stock a range of exclusive bridal gowns and accessories at affordable prices.
Prior to starting her business, Nicola worked as an actress. She trained at the Guildford School of Acting and then went on to establish a 12 year acting career across television, radio and theatre. Most recently, Nicola has been performing in the Dick Whittington Pantomime in High Wycombe.
The Start Up Loans Company has now lent over £129 million to individuals looking for support in starting up a business.
The former Chairman of the Start Up Loans Company, James Caan CBE said:
“I can’t emphasise enough how ecstatic we are to be so close to our target of supporting 30,000 new businesses by 2015. The creation of 25,000 new businesses is a significant achievement and everyone involved – the Government, the Start Up Loans Company, and the loan recipients themselves, should be immensely proud.”
Nicola Weeks, the 25,000th loan recipient of the Start Up Loans scheme said:
“I received my Start Up Loan through Foundation East and found the process very efficient and straightforward. The help I received from my mentor was absolutely brilliant!I’m so delighted to achieve my dream of running my own boutique and I’m honoured to be the 25,000th new business started by the scheme.”