A plastic-free supermarket and a company making healthy snacks for children are among the six small businesses which have been selected to champion UK start ups by the government-backed Start Up Loans Company.
Now in its third year, the annual Ambassador Programme celebrates exceptional business owners who have realised their ambition of becoming their own boss after receiving a loan from the Start Up Loans Company.
Hailing from across the UK, this year’s Ambassadors – from children’s books that promote diversity to a late-night teahouse in Newcastle – reflect the wide range of businesses that make up the SME sector. The Ambassadors, however, are united by a general theme of family – siblings and couples represent half of this year’s cohort.
The 2018 Ambassadors will be launched at a dedicated reception today, November 26, at the Houses of Parliament in London. Guests will include Jonathan Reynolds MP, the Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Chairman of the British Business Bank.
The Westminster launch will kick-start a year-long programme which will see the Ambassadors take part in a series of local and national events, where they will offer advice to other aspiring business owners about becoming their own boss.
The Start Up Loans Company is part of the British Business Bank, and the Ambassador programme supports the Bank’s UK-wide drive to encourage entrepreneurship, increase the rate of business creation and improve the survival prospects of early-stage business.
Kelly Tolhurst, the Minister for Small Business, said:
“With more than 1,000 starting up every day, the UK’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Congratulations to the newly-appointed Ambassadors for the Government-backed Start Up Loans Programme, which helps aspiring business owners across the UK turn their dreams into a reality with finance and mentoring support.”
Patrick Magee, the Chief Commercial Officer of the British Business Bank, said:
“From healthy snacks for children to gourmet baking kits and waste-free supermarkets, our 2018 Ambassadors showcase the wonderful range of small businesses that we have in the UK.
“All of our Ambassadors stories show the grit and ambition it takes to set up a successful business, and we’re incredibly proud of everything they have achieved. We know that fear of failure is the biggest reason people put off starting their own business; however, with the right guidance and support, aspiring business owners can realise their dreams of becoming their own boss.”
The Start Up Loans Company has provided over 57,000 loans to British start ups across the UK, amounting to more than £447 million.
The 2018 Start Up Loans Company Ambassadors are:
Miles & Mia – children’s books
A London mum Michaela Alexander who writes children’s books – featuring her own children – to help promote diversity in early development literature.
Cut the Wrap! – package free supermarket
Inspired by Blue Planet 2, Paul and Cat Moffatt decided to take action and address the amount of plastic that is polluting the oceans by opening a package free zero-waste supermarket which has eliminated single use plastic packaging from their products and sell everything by weight.
Naturelly – healthy and organic snacks for children
Launched in 2015, Naturelly makes products for schoolchildren that are now available in hundreds of Sainsbury’s, Boots and Waitrose stores across the country.
Quilliam Brothers’ Teahouse – artisanal tea-house
Brothers Sam, Tom and Patrick Quilliam used their loan to set up Quilliam Brothers’ Teahouse, an evening venue that offers fine teas sourced from across the globe and showcases the work of young, local artists.
Bakedin – home-baking kits
Inspired by the rising popularity of recipe boxes, Joseph Munns and his friend, Anna Bridgen, struck upon the idea of making home-baking kits using quality dry ingredients. The business, which began with selling recipe kits at school fetes, market stalls and street food festivals, has now evolved into a subscription service that delivers a home baking kit through the door.
BTS Concept Store – Northern Irish coastal boutique
Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Tracy McAllister fulfilled her lifelong dream when she set up BTS Concept Store, a home and lifestyle store. Tracy used her to create a pop-up store for three months. The store proved to be so popular it has grown and will be moving to larger premises in 2019.