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Start Up Loans passes £600m funding milestone, delivering more than 68,500 loans outside of London

  • The Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than £600 million worth of loans to entrepreneurs outside of London since 2012
  • The North West has had the most funding outside of London, followed by the South East and Yorkshire & The Humber

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme today announces it has passed a major milestone of £600 million worth of loans delivered outside of London, providing 68,559 loans to entrepreneurs outside of the Capital since its launch in 2012.

Start Up Loans provides mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners in every corner of the United Kingdom and its impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure finance through traditional lenders.

The North West received the highest number of loans outside of London with a volume of 10,881 (12%) worth over £94 million. The South East received 8,378 loans (10%) worth over £81 million, followed by Yorkshire & The Humber where a total of 7,497 loans (9%) were provided at the value of over £68 million. These figures reflect the regional diversity of entrepreneurialism across the country and highlight the success of the programme in supporting SMEs that reside outside of the entrepreneurial hub of London.

Recipient of the 600 millionth pound

The recipient of the 600 millionth pound from the Start Up Loans programme was Will Smith, from Northern Ireland. He took two loans totalling £6,000 in January and July 2020 to launch Woodwork by Will – a bespoke wood furniture company. He used the money to invest in essential machinery and a table saw.

Prior to receiving the loans, he was using a friend’s machinery for some of the bigger jobs, which was logistically complicated. Now that he has his own machinery, a job that would have taken three days can be completed in just half a day.

Will Smith, Founder of Woodwork by Will, said:

“The support I have received from the British Business Bank has accelerated my business 12 months beyond where it would have been.

I found the whole process with the Bank very straightforward and would have no hesitation in recommending Start Up Loans to other entrepreneurs. I would go as far as saying that if you are serious about growth, this type of investment early on is essential, provided you are determined to put the work in.

The mentoring elements would particularly suit someone who is starting their own business but doesn’t necessarily have a business background. I was offered mentoring from successful entrepreneurs on areas such as marketing, legal issues and insurance that kept me on the right track from the start.

I had planned moving forward to take on bigger projects such as kitchens, fit out projects etc and now my goals are much more realistic.”

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

“Providing £600 million worth of funding to new businesses outside of London is a huge milestone for the government backed Start Up Loans programme and reflects the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small businesses at a grass roots level across the whole country.

We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses that hail from each corner of the country, particularly in areas of deprivation where people may struggle to access funding, and this milestone is tribute to that.

We are proud that our loans, mentoring and support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs is helping to support the Build Back Better agenda and we’re delighted to have been able to help Will make his dream into a reality”. 

Breakdown of loans by region excluding London

UK RegionLoans MadeAmount Lent (£)Average Loan Amount (£)
East Midlands4,88341,863,6708,573
East of England6,10655,471,4739,085
North East4,87542,506,0488,719
North West10,88194,240,3748,661
Northern Ireland1,35611,049,0648,148
South East8,37881,207,4219,693
South West7,48766,003,7538,816
West Midlands7,26463,655,5228,763
Yorkshire and The Humber7,49768,748,2969,170
Region not obtained1852,164,52111,700

Start Up Loans figures up to 31 August 2021.


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 for 12 months 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 Delivery Partner organisations support 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 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: You can find recent media coverage and press releases in the Start Up Loans Media Centre here:

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 programme has delivered more than 87,400 loans, providing more than £779m of funding.
  • In the financial year 2020/21, the programme provided 11,408 loans with a total value of approximately £137.2m.
  • Since 2012, 30% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. 40% went to women and 20.2% of our loan recipients are Black, Asian, or 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: