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£100m of finance provided to 18-24-year-old entrepreneurs by Start Up Loans programme

Start Up Loans programme provides backing to Gen Z entrepreneurs, a group which often struggles to get business finance from other sources

  • Since launching, Start Up Loans has delivered more than 15,000 loans worth over £100 million to applicants aged 18-24
  • The North West is the region to have received the highest number of loans to 18-24-year-olds outside of London
  • Young entrepreneurs are given more than finance with the programme also providing free mentoring support to successful Start Up Loans applicants
  • Milestone coincides with a new campaign for college students considering entrepreneurship as a career option

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, today announces that it has provided more than £100m worth of funding to business owners aged 18-24, equating to more than 15,000 loans since the programme launched in 2012.

Outside of London, the North West has received the highest volume of loans (1,992), followed by West Midlands (1,591) and the South East (1,291). London has received 3,099 loans in total since 2012.

Among those to receive one of these loans, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5m), hospitality (£5.8m) and arts and entertainment (£2.5m).

See below for a full breakdown of loans by UK nations and regions for young people since 2012, including volume and value of loans.

Loans to 18-24-year-olds

UK RegionLoans MadeValue (£)
East Midlands1,0356,982,336
East of England1,0307,535,476
North East8545,640,096
North West1,99314,414,500
Northern Ireland2271,679,440
South East1,29110,383,898
South West1,0087,525,650
West Midlands1,59110,919,705
Yorkshire and The Humber1,2629,159,330
Region not obtained1031,020,800
Region not obtained1031,020,800
Grand Total15,027110,039,996

The funding milestone comes as the Start Up Loans programme launches a new information campaign aimed at students considering entrepreneurship as a career option so they can make their business dreams a reality. The advertising campaign is running across 54 UK cities, and students simply need to scan the QR code on posters and screens around their college and university campuses and surrounding area to access the information.

Creating social value

New data shows that the programme’s impact has been particularly noticeable among young entrepreneurs, with 16.5% of all loan recipients aged 18-24 being unemployed before they got their loan.

Of all the loans distributed to entrepreneurs under 25, 39% have gone to female business owners and 24% to business owners from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Gen Z business owner supported by Start Up Loans

Gen Z business owner, Cory Hibbin, aged 20, is just one of these recipients. He took out a £14,500 loan in March 2023 to launch Techie Services. The company, based in Hastings, offers security solutions for residential clients, estates and corporate buildings, including CCTV, alarm systems and network management.

Cory doesn’t live with family or have any financial support from them so his aspiration of setting up Techie Services would not have been possible without the help of the bank’s funding.

He left school at 16 and started an apprenticeship as an IT engineer at a consultancy firm. After developing his skills, he started offering surveillance services on the side of this day job. The client was so impressed that they asked him to work for them full-time.

Cory, founder of Techie Services, said:

“I’m not the sort of person who can take on learning from behind a desk so I left school at 16 to do an apprenticeship with a local IT consultancy company. While working there, I was working on the side in the evenings and at the weekends. Having been there for four years, I felt like I had gained enough experience to start my own company, which is when Techie Services began. I started with one large client, who quickly recommended me to other businesses and individuals, so I took on five new clients in our first six weeks.
It hasn’t been easy but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The money from Start Up Loans was invaluable in the success of the business – I used it to buy tools for installations as well as supplies for the office. While it might seem a big leap of faith to some people, you can’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place. I urge anyone 18 or above to look into the finance options available to them if they need a hand getting off the ground.”

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank said:

“It’s amazing to see people in their late teens and early twenties with such ‘can-do’ attitudes and motivation to achieve success in working life.
Our £100 million funding milestone is a significant landmark and testament to the hard work of Start Up Loans, in giving people with a good business idea like Cory’s, no matter their age, the chance to access the funding needed to bring it to life. We’re determined to keep backing aspirational young people with money and mentoring.”

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

“Every large firm started off as a small business and today’s aspiring young entrepreneurs could be the next success story. I urge them to explore how a Start Up Loan could launch their ambitions today.
Through the British Business Bank, and the Help to Grow campaign, we’ve backed the next generation of business leaders with over £100 million in government backed finance and we’re not stopping there.”


Notes to editors

About Start Up Loans

The Start Up Loans programme provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a 6% fixed interest rate per annum and offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business.

The primary aim of the Start Up Loans programme is to ensure that viable start-ups and early-stage businesses have access to the finance and support they need in order to thrive. A network of Business Support Partner organisations supports applicants in all regions and industries throughout the UK. The Start Up Loans programme is not designed to generate a commercial profit. Capital payments together with the interest are recycled to help meet borrowers’ increasing demands for finance.

Free guides on a range of subjects related to starting a business and recent media press releases are available on the Start Up Loans website.

The funding for the Start Up Loans programme is provided by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). A development bank wholly government-owned by DBT, the British Business Bank plc is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank and its subsidiary entities are not banking institutions and do not operate as such.

The British Business Bank makes finance markets for smaller businesses work better, helping the sector to prosper, to grow and to build economic activity.

Key Statistics

  • Since its inception in 2012, the Start Up Loans scheme has delivered over 105,000 loans, providing more than £1bn of funding.
  • In the financial year 2022/23, the scheme provided 9,549 loans with a total value of approximately £120m.
  • The economic benefits of the Start Up Loans programme are almost six (5.7) times its economic costs.
  • At Spending Review 2021, the Chancellor announced resources to provide 33,000 Start Up Loans over next three years.

Aside from the return-on-investment numbers these statistics are gross estimates and based on Start Up Loans CRM along with externally commissioned research undertaken by SQW Ltd, with support from BMG Research.

Since 2012, 31% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. 40% of loan recipients were women and 20% were from ethnic minority groups (not including white minorities).