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Start Up Loans partners with the Open University to offer a range of free business learning courses

The partnership offers a tailored set of courses aimed at new, established and aspiring businesspeople

The government-backed Start Up Loans scheme has partnered with world-renowned distance-learning provider The Open University to give its customers – and other small business owners across the UK – the opportunity to take free Open University business learning courses.

At a moment of significant upheaval for the UK’s start-ups, the partnership aims to help businesses get off the ground by giving them the confidence and training they need to take their ideas to the next level.

The online courses can be accessed easily by visiting the Start Up Loans website and have been designed to suit all needs and paces of learning, from introductory to intermediate to advanced. Depending on the level of study, the courses take six, 10 or 30 hours to complete.

In partnership with experts at The Open University (OU), Start Up Loans has also curated a set of courses designed specifically to help entrepreneurs understand the fundamentals of running a business. Hosted on the OU’s OpenLearn platform, these courses focus on areas such as career and leadership; finance and accounting; marketing and commercial awareness; and project management.

Helping aspiring business owners who would otherwise struggle to access finance has always been an integral part of the Start Up Loans offering, in addition to its low-interest loans of between £5,000 and £25,000.

In fact, of the people who received a loan since 2012, 31,036 (40%) were women, more than 15,000 (20%) were people from ethnic minority communities and 20,600 (27%) were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK start-up community.

The courses will build on the existing mentoring support package, including resources on the ‘Learn with Start Up Loans’ hub, the scheme offers all its customers whilst they are preparing to bring their business ideas to life.

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said:

“The offer of ongoing support and guidance, free of charge, has always been the guiding principle that separates Start Up Loans from other finance options available to aspiring small business owners.

“Amid the current uncertainty small business owners face, additional advice and training is needed more urgently than ever. We are extremely proud of our partnership with The Open University to provide the UK start-up community with expert guidance to support their essential contribution to the British economy.”

Jane Roberts, Head of OpenLearn at The Open University, said:

“OpenLearn is delighted to be able to play a role in supporting the UK’s entrepreneurs and small businesses through this new partnership. The range of free courses we are able to offer are designed to fit around working life and will hopefully help many to not only survive through these difficult times, but to emerge stronger and able to thrive in the future.”

Start Up Loans recognises that, during this difficult economic period, it is more vital than ever to provide longer-term support options and advice to all the UK’s small business owners, in a safe, online format.

As well as the partnership and its pre-loan support and mentoring package, Start Up Loans has published a series of guides on important areas of business including social media, marketing and SEO. The guides, which can be downloaded free of charge from the Start Up Loans website, are designed to ensure business owners of all stripes have the resources they need to build and grow a successful business.