Start Up Loans passes £750m funding milestone, delivering more than 85,500 loans across the UK

Press release 19 July 2021

  • The Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than £750 million worth of loans to entrepreneurs since 2012
  • One in five (20%) loan recipients have minority ethnic heritage
  • Two in five (40%) loan recipients are women
  • One third (30%) of loan recipients were unemployed at the time of application

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans (SUL) programme today announces it has passed a major milestone of £750 million worth of loans, delivering more than 85,500 loans since its launch in 2012.

Over the last year alone (April 2020 – April 2021), the government-backed programme has issued £173.2 million of loans to 11,408 people across the UK, as many entrepreneurs took the pandemic as an opportunity to launch or scale up their first enterprise. This represents a significant year on year increase of 33% against the same period in 2019/20.

Of the people who received a loan since 2012, two fifths (40%) were women. One in five (20%) recipients were people from ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities), of which 9% were from Black ethnic groups, 5% from Asian ethnic groups and 4% from mixed ethnic groups. 30% of all loan recipients were unemployed when they applied for the loan, showing the scheme’s value to disadvantaged communities.

Recipient of the 750 millionth pound

The recipient of the 750 millionth pound from the Start Up Loans programme was 39-year-old Aaron Mo, from Bermondsey, London. Aaron took out a loan of £25,000 after leaving his role as a Policy Analyst for the London Assembly to launch a pop-up Chinese bakery called Ong Ong Buns at 122 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London.

He used the loan to buy catering equipment, raw ingredients stock and the rent deposit. Ong Ong Buns is thought to be the first Chinese bakery and café in London and is one of only a few bricks-and-mortar shops in the capital that sells Chinese baked goods outside Chinatown and Chinese supermarkets.

Lockdown made me re-evaluate what was important to me and gave me the opportunity to become my own boss, which has always been a dream of mine. My wife is a Chinese Malaysian and moved to London last year. We’re both big foodies, but since moving here my wife has craved sweet Chinese snacks and avoids eating Western sandwiches and baked goods. This made me realise there is a gap in the market for convenience food for typical Chinese tastebuds. That’s when my wife and I decided to launch Ong Ong Buns to bring some of our passion for Chinese food to the heart of London. Start Up Loans’ was the right place for me to apply for a loan mainly because of the wider support available through the scheme, as well as the fact that it’s a trusted government-backed entity. I’d encourage any aspiring enterprise owner to take a look and see if it could help them in their journey towards becoming their own boss. Aaron Mo Founder of Ong Ong Buns
Providing £750 million worth of funding to new businesses across the UK is a huge milestone for the Start Up Loans programme, particularly given the challenges businesses have faced during the pandemic. We are delighted to support investment in small businesses across the UK via this government-backed programme and we continue to applaud the incredible resilience that businesses and business owners have shown. Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought to business owners, entrepreneurial spirit has not dwindled, and we look forward to continuing to support the small business community to recover by providing further investment and mentoring support. We are proud to see Aaron taking his first steps into business through Ong Ong Buns, and we wish him every success in his new venture. Richard Bearman Managing Director of Start Up Loans

The Start Up Loans programme provides loans, mentoring and support to existing and aspiring business owners across the UK, helping support the Build Back Better agenda to bring prosperity to areas of deprivation and to people who may otherwise find it difficult to secure financial support.

Notes to editors

About Start Up Loans

The Start-Up Loans Company, part of the British Business Bank, was formed in June 2012. The Start Up Loans scheme 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. You can find recent media coverage and press releases in the Start Up Loans Media Centre.

The funding for the Start Up Loans scheme 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 85,500 loans, providing more than £758 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, 30% of loans went to people formerly unemployed or economically inactive. Two fifths (40%) were women and more than one in five 2% of our loan recipients are 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