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British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans Programme Unveils New Business Support Partners

  • The Bank has appointed three new national and new regional Business Support Partners (BSPs) to help unlock the potential of small businesses across the UK
  • Successful partners include: GC Business Finance, X-Forces and The Prince’s Trust
  • A second cohort of partners will be announced later in 2023

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has today announced its new Business Support Partners (BSPs) – three national partners and a number of regional support partners. The new appointments will work with the Start Up Loans programme to deliver funding and support for small businesses across the UK over the next two years.

The scheme has a 10-year legacy of delivering funding at a fixed interest rate of 6% and mentoring to recipients in their first year. Since inception, the scheme has delivered over 100,000 loans worth more than £960 million to businesses and its delivery partners (now renamed as Business Support Partners) have always been critical to its success.

Start Up Loans’ impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure loans from traditional lenders, which has always been a priority for the scheme. New BSPs share – and will help deliver on – this ambition of providing support tailored to all demographics in society.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans, said:

“I am delighted to share the first phase of our newly appointed BSPs, who will help us ensure that anyone wanting to start a business has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their location, economic circumstances or social background.

We are incredibly proud of the success of the scheme since 2012 and the choice to review the partners we work with has been undertaken to offer new businesses the chance to compete for the work. It will ensure the scheme is working with partners that provide the best possible support to those who need it. In particular, our new BSPs will help us deliver our ambition of providing a market leading 50/50 split between male/female loan recipients”.

National partners

The new national BSPs will support businesses across the UK and target specific demographics traditionally in need of additional support. They are:

  • GC Business Finance: A responsible lender with a proven track record in providing alternative finance products to support growing businesses achieve their goals. To date it has loaned in excess of £150m and supported over 30,000 growing businesses throughout the UK.
  • X-Forces Enterprise: A specialist organisation that helps members of the Armed Forces and Emergency Service communities, including their family members, nurture their entrepreneurial ambition, secure funding and make their business plans a reality.
  • The Prince’s Trust: A youth charity that helps young people aged 13 to 30. Its Enterprise programme helps turn young people’s big ideas into fully fledged businesses. It has helped over 90,000 young people to start their own business.

Alex Mearns, Head of Startup Lending at GCBF, said:

“We are extremely proud to have secured the UK-wide contract for the Start Up Loans scheme. We are excited to welcome our new team members and expand our support to entrepreneurs across the country. Early-stage entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the economy, and if we can help more of them access the early finance they need, then we can get them ready for mainstream lending and further growth.”

Ren Kapur MBE, XFE’s Chief Executive, said:

“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Start Up Loans, and excited as we look to the future and the prospect of helping even more individuals realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.”

Alban Stowe, Senior Head of UK Government Strategy & Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust said:

“We’re delighted to partner with Start Up Loans and grateful for their commitment to support young people to start their own business, at a time when they are facing multiple challenges. At The Prince’s Trust, we know that for many young people who face disadvantage, the opportunity to start their own business is life changing and can help them achieve financial independence, increase their confidence and enable them to reach their full potential.”

Regional partners

Start Up Loans’ new cohort of regional BSPs have been chosen to provide localised support for businesses in each nation and region of the UK, so that entrepreneurs have the best chance of fulfilling their potential regardless of their location.

UK RegionBusiness Support Partner
East MidlandsEnterprise Loans East Midlands (ELEM)
East of EnglandNorfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (Nwes)
LondonNorfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (Nwes)
North EastBusiness & Enterprise Finance Ltd (BEF)
North WestGC Business Finance (GCBF)
Northern IrelandTBC
ScotlandDSL Business Finance Ltd
South EastCapitalise Business Support Ltd. (Let’s do Business)
South WestSWIG Finance Ltd.
West MidlandsEnterprise Loans East Midlands (ELEM)
Yorkshire and The HumberBusiness & Enterprise Finance Ltd (BEF)

For more information, please visit:

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 100,000 loans, providing more than £960m of funding.
  • In the financial year 2021/22, the scheme provided 12,433 loans with a total value of approximately £152.4m.
  • 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, 5% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. Some 40% of loan recipients were women and 21% were from ethnic minority groups (not including white minorities).