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British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans Programme Unveils Virgin Startup and BizBritain as Business Support Partners

The Bank has appointed two further national Business Support Partners (BSPs) to help unlock the potential of small businesses across the UK

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, today announces Virgin StartUp and BizBritain as national Business Support Partners (BSPs). They will work with the Start Up Loans programme to deliver funding and support for small businesses across the UK over the next two years.

  • Virgin StartUp: Since 2013, Virgin StartUp has distributed more than £70 million to 5,000 founders around the country through the Start Up Loans programme. In 2019, the not-for-profit also announced its 50/50 pledge to equally fund men and women founders.
  • BizBritain: Since 2012, BizBritain has directly funded more than 4,000 start-ups with a combined total of over £50 million.

The Start Up Loans scheme delivers finance to small businesses through its partners at a fixed interest rate of 6% and provides mentoring to recipients. Since inception, the scheme has delivered more than 100,000 loans worth more than £980 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 funding from traditional lenders, which has always been a priority for the scheme. New BSPs share – and will help deliver on – the ambition of providing support tailored to all demographics in society.

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

“I am delighted to confirm these two appointed BSPs, who will be fundamental in delivering our ambition to provide funding to those wanting to start a business with the finance and support to do so.

Both companies share the same passion and determination for supporting UK small businesses which is essential as business owners continue to grapple with a challenging economic landscape. They each have a fantastic track record. In the case of Virgin StartUp we know the team just recently delivered its 5,000th loan.”

Matt Gubba, CEO and Founder of BizBritain, said:

“At BizBritain, we’re passionate about enabling the dreams and ambitions of UK small businesses. Our partnership with the British Business Bank is an embodiment of that passion, offering Start Up Loans that can serve as the catalyst for economic growth and innovation across the UK. In supporting these businesses, we’re investing in the future of our country, fostering job creation, and driving forward economic resilience.”

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director at Virgin StartUp, comments:

“There is nothing more inspiring than listening to the ideas of new business founders who want to have a positive impact in the world. In the past 10 years, we’ve had the pleasure of supporting 5,000 founders with a Start Up Loan and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than to announce that we will be funding many thousands more over the next few years.

The Start Up Loan scheme makes starting a business a reality for many more would-be founders. We are proud to be part of their journey and we can’t wait to meet and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

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 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. Some 40% of loan recipients were women and 21% were from ethnic minority groups (not including white minorities).