Beware of scams

We are aware of scams coming from email and social media where people try to impersonate us. We will never ask you for money or your bank details. Learn more about what to look out for and how to protect yourself.

British Business Bank hits £800m start-up funding milestone as loan recipients reflect on saying “Yes!” to business ownership

  • Start Up Loans passes two milestones, delivering over 90,000 loans and providing over £800 million of funding across the UK since 2012
  • Start Up Loans recipients demonstrate the variety of ‘Yes’ moments for people that propel them into starting their business

31 January 2022: Entrepreneurs often dream of opening a business for months, or even years, before they take the leap and set the process in motion. In every business owner’s life, there comes a moment when they say “Yes” and make the decision to work toward becoming a successful business owner.

The timing of that crucial decision point, and the journey to get there, is different for everyone. It can be a moment when they decide to apply for funding, to create a website, or draft up a business plan. For budding entrepreneurs looking to take their first step into the world of business ownership, however big or small, that vital ‘Yes’ moment can be life-changing.

Here, business owners from across the UK who took out a government-backed Start Up Loan share what that ‘Yes’ moment looked like for them, how they got to that point, and how it felt, to inspire others who might be considering starting a business in 2022.

Tribal Milk

Rahma Ahmed Ali and Nura Nur secured a Start Up Loan of £10,000 in July 2021 through Sharia Enterprise to start their alternative dairy brand Tribal Milk. Tribal Milk drinks use camel milk, which is a staple product in Africa and has many health benefits including less lactose, higher protein and less saturated fat compared to cow’s milk. Rahma and Nura plan to launch their products in early 2022 and to continue to develop innovative products with a dairy twist.

Rahma Ahmed Ali, Co-Founder of Tribal Milk, said: “Deciding to say ‘Yes’ to starting my own business was a very daunting and nerve-wrecking decision. However, looking back at it now, it was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made, and it makes me very hopeful for the future knowing that this brand that we have worked hard to build is growing and will hopefully continue to grow.

“For individuals deciding whether to say ‘Yes’ to starting a business, we recommend looking at the absolute minimum you need to get started, whether that be finding a mentor or applying for funding, and just doing it. You need to get going and build to succeed.”

Hiro & Wolf

Amy Fleuriot and Bee Friedmann took out a Start Up Loan of £5,000 in 2013 to launch Hiro & Wolf, a brand that makes accessories for pets including collars and bow ties. The pair met while walking their dogs in Hackney, East London, and eventually decided to combine their skills to launch a business named after their two dogs. Their Start Up Loans funding was initially used for materials, printing, and marketing, which were essential to the launch of the business’ Columbia Road shop.

Amy Fleuriot-Reade, Co-Founder of Hiro & Wolf, said: I remember someone saying that the most important thing about starting your own business is to start! Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it, you’ve got to keep saying ‘Yes’ when it feels right.

“This attitude served us well during lockdown when our team were all on furlough and it was back to just Bee and I. We continued to say ‘yes’ to our dreams for Hiro & Wolf, despite the challenges we faced along the line, and it has paid off.”

21st Century Repairs

Lamar Griffith and Reece Walker, both 22, set up 21st Century Repairs, a van-based phone repair service based in Nottingham in January 2019. They wanted to make a business that did something unique and so, with Reece’s background in phone repair, and Lamar’s skills in marketing and content creation, they decided to bring convenience to the mobile services market. They used their loan to purchase their van and van branding.

Lamar Griffith and Reece Walker, Co-Founders of 21st Century Repairs, said:

“We said ‘Yes’ to starting our own business because we didn’t like the idea of working for someone else. We wanted to work to better ourselves and make our own luck our own way. Once we made that decision, we were excited and ready to go, but knew there would be a long road ahead.”

“Our advice to any new business owner would be to avoid overdoing things at the beginning. Pace yourself: make a list, complete everything on it, and then take a break. It’s best to take things step by step.”

Since the Start Up Loans programme began in 2012, the program has delivered more than 90,552 loans of up to £25,000 to business owners across the UK who said “yes”, amounting to more than £819 million. Of those who have since received a loan, 40% were women; more than 20% were people from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority communities (excluding White minorities); and over 30% were previously unemployed.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start-Up Loans, said: “Delivering over 90,000 loans and providing £800 million of funding is a huge milestone for the programme and reflects the ambition and determination the nation’s small businesses have demonstrated over the past few years.”

“It’s brilliant to hear the stories of how business owners felt when they said ‘Yes’ to becoming their own boss. Our Ambassadors often tell us that, despite how nerve-wracking it may be to start a business, saying ‘Yes’ and firmly making the decision to go for it is half the battle.”

“Start Up Loans offer many great resources for entrepreneurs on the cusp of saying ‘yes’ to starting a business. Our pre-loan support package, and mentoring scheme once a loan has been provided, mean all recipients are supported during one of the most exciting, but daunting, decisions of their lives.”

Breakdown of loans by region

UK RegionLoans Made Amount Lent (£)Average Loan Amount (£)
East Midlands5,06644,501,3468,784
East of England6,34458,512,3739,223
Isle of Man210,0005,000
North East5,00444,246,0768,842
North West11,24798,555,2038,763
Northern Ireland1,39211,485,8148,251
South East8,78186,784,8089,883
South West7,77269,268,8178,913
West Midlands7,52267,121,9548,923
Yorkshire and The Humber7,80372,509,6549,293
Region not obtained2483,077,52112,409
Grand Total90,552819,427,6698,964


For more information, please contact:

Shanina McLeod
Communications Manager
+44 20 3908 0449

The British Business Bank team
MHP Communications
+44 20 3128 8589

Notes to editors

About Start Up Loans

The Start-Up Loans Company, part of the British Business Bank, was formed in June 2012. 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 for 12 months 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 Delivery Partner organisations support 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 our customers’ increasing demand for finance.

Free guides on a range of subjects related to starting a business are available on the Start Up Loans website. You can find recent media coverage and press releases in the Start Up Loans Media Centre.

The funding for the Start Up Loans programme is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The Start-Up Loans Company is a subsidiary of the British Business Bank plc. The bank is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). British Business Bank plc 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, enabling the sector to prosper, grow and build economic activity.

Start Up Loans – impact

  • Since 2012, the Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than 90,000 loans, providing over £819m of funding.
  • In the financial year 2020/21, the programme provided 11,408 loans with a total value of approximately £137.2m.
  • Since 2012, 30% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. Two fifths (40%) were women and more than one in five (20.2%) of our loan recipients are Asian people, Black people, or people from other ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities)
  • 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.

For more information about Start Up Loans, please visit the Start Up Loans website.