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Creative England and Start-Up Loans launch partnership to help unlock the UK’s creative potential

2 June 2021: Creative England and the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme have today announced a new partnership, establishing an accessible source of financial and business support for creative entrepreneurs across the UK. The partnership provides vital support for creative businesses – many of whom struggle to access traditional forms of finance – to start, grow and develop their IP.

In 2018, the Creative Industries Council reported that 62% of creative businesses felt their growth had been restricted due to a lack of funding, and that 72% of creative businesses using funding still felt undercapitalised. This gap in opportunity is in spite of the creative industries contributing nearly £116bn GVA to the UK prior to the pandemic – greater than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined – and growing at more than four times the rate of the country’s wider economy.

Since 2012, Creative England has sought to remove this disconnect, investing over £25m into small creative companies and leveraging an additional £100m of private sector financing into those businesses – including via the £24m Creative Growth Finance debut fund, launched in 2019 with Triodos Bank. The Start-Up Loans programme has provided more than £722m in funding to over 80,000 recipients since its launch in 2012. The programme has been particularly effective in tackling the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on young people, with double the number of young entrepreneurs (aged 18-24) using it in 2020, compared to 2019.

The new government-backed Start Up Loans for the creative industries will offer borrowing of up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum, repayable over 1-5 years. As well as providing access to early financing, the loans will also include 12 months of post-investment mentoring support for recipients. Applicants are welcome from any subsector of the UK’s creative industries; from young practitioners or experienced freelancers, to creative start-ups less than two years old.

Mehjabeen Patrick, CFO, Creative England, said: “Financial support and investment opportunities in the creative industries are already all too rare, with talent and ideas often not matched with the opportunities required to unlock potential. The impact of the pandemic threatens to widen this disconnect further. In partnering with the Start-Up Loans programme, Creative England can support creative entrepreneurs in accessing the affordable financing and support they need to grow effective and sustainable businesses.”

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said: “The creative industries are of huge importance to the UK, and encouraging more people to set up businesses in the sector is a great way to develop the cultural life of the nation while reinvigorating the economy.

“It’s therefore a great pleasure to confirm this new partnership, which will offer aspiring entrepreneurs in the sector the capital, practical support and guidance they need to succeed. I look forward to working closely with Creative England and the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport to make the aspiration of business ownership a reality for creative minds across the country.”

Nicola Patalong, 38, took out £19,000 in 2014 through Delivery Partner BFS, to launch PO’Sh Creative Ltd – an integrated creative agency that offers a broad spectrum of services including animation, branding, web, marketing, social and design. She used the loan to purchase new equipment and hire a new designer.

Nicola said: “Since launching, we’ve worked hard to build a reputation for producing high quality creative and have gained some incredible clients in the process. Last year was a challenging one, not just as a business owner, but a working mum too (with home-schooling to fit into the schedule).

“We’ve had to adapt, sometimes working day and night, but we survived, and in fact on the back of the whole team’s dedication we’ve thrived. We launched a new business called Immersive (a dynamic and fully immersive virtual event platform) and in the last two months successfully recruited four new members of staff at PO’Sh including an animator, digital marketing manager, social and content creator and full stack/app developer. The rewards have been fantastic!”

To apply visit


About Creative England
At Creative England, we believe that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. That is why we build programmes that create opportunities for talent to access the best support and
reach the next stage in their creative entrepreneurial journey.

Creative England is working to build the right environment for the future of the creative industries by helping creative businesses raise their ambition, create jobs, grow turnover and build the confidence and networks they need to be truly innovative. We invest, connect, mentor, advocate and collaborate at all levels of the industry, from individuals and small independents to large internationals, creating the right conditions for success.

Creative England, with its sister company the Creative Industries Federation, is part of the non-profit group, Creative UK.

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 and support to each business.

The primary aim of the Start Up Loans scheme 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 scheme 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:

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 scheme has delivered more than 80,000 loans, providing more than £722 million of funding.
  • In the financial year 2020/21, the scheme provided 11,408 loans with a total value of approximately £137.2 million
  • Since 2012, 31% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. Two fifths (40%) were women and more than one in five 20.2% of loan recipients were 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 2020, the Chancellor announced an increase in funding for the Start Up Loans programme so that it can provide 1,000 more loans in 2021/22 than were originally funded in the March 2020 Budget.
  • For more information about Start Up Loans, please visit: