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The North of England is top region for entrepreneurs, receiving £150m in Start Up Loans

Almost 19,000 loans issued since 2012 to aspiring business owners across the North to help level-up the region

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has issued more loans to entrepreneurs in the North of England than in London, new figures reveal today, helping to level-up the region.

The Government-backed programme has delivered 18,612 loans amounting to £151 million to aspiring business owners in the North of England (defined as the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and North East regions) since 2012, compared to 15,841 loans totaling £128 million to those in London.

The figures point to a spirit of entrepreneurship in the North of England, with more than one in four (27%) of all Start Up Loans going to people in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions. The average loan is £8,126.

In 2019 alone, the Start Up Loans programme provided over £25 million in funding to help 2,355 people in the North to start a business.

The Start Up Loans programme was established in 2012 to help people – wherever they are in the UK and whatever their background – to achieve their ambitions of starting their own business.

The programme strives to support aspiring business owners who might otherwise struggle to access funding from the traditional High Street Banks.

Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said: “We need entrepreneurs to unleash Britain’s potential. This government is backing businesses right across the North of England and is determined to level up every part of the UK. Start Up Loans make it possible for even more people to get the funding they need to turn their business ideas into reality.”

Kelly Tolhurst will be celebrating the £150 million milestone today by visiting businesses in the North West to talk about funding and how the Government and its partners can help more businesses to start and grow in the North.

Among them will be Ryan Baily, the co-founder of Northern Monkey Brew Co., a brewery in Bolton which has produced more than 30 different beers, including one-off specials such as a Rum and Raisin stout and the Chocolate Treacle Porter, Underdog.

Ryan set up his business in 2016 with the help of a £25,000 Start Up Loan. He built the brewery as an extension to his house before expanding and moving to Nelson Square, Bolton where he added a bar to the brewery. He has now opened a second bar in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Their new venue joins several high-quality restaurants and bars that are opening locally and contributing to the prosperity of the region.

Ryan Baily, the co-founder of Northern Monkey Brew Co., said: “It’s been an absolute dream come true to launch the brewery with my friend and business partner Liam. It started off as just a hobby as we both liked good beer, but now we supply to pubs across Bolton.

“It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come, and we are incredibly grateful to Start Up Loans for giving us the support and advice we needed to get started.”

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start Up Loans, said: “By supporting thousands of people in the North of England to start a business, we are helping to level-up the region. Starting a business anywhere is tough and we are proud of all the businesses across the regions in the North or England that have been able to start and grow thanks to support and funding through Start Up Loans.”

The Start Up Loans programme provides fixed-interest loans of £500 to £25,000 to aspiring business owners. Since 2012, it has delivered 69,555 loans, providing more than £563 million in funding to help people from all walks of life start their own business.

In addition to finance, Start Up Loan applicants receive support from an experienced business advisor to help them prepare a business plan and cash flow report, and loan recipients are offered 12-months of free mentoring to guide them through the early stages of their business journey.

Breakdown of loans by region (estimate as at 20 Jan 2020)


UK RegionLoans MadeAmount Lent (£)
East Midlands3,907£29,402,987
East of England4,665£37,330,115
Isle of Man1£5,100
North East4,014£32,104,506
North West8,648£68,450,053
Northern Ireland1,096£8,179,684
South East6,265£54,494,288
South West5,792£46,331,248
West Midlands5,862£45,727,885
Yorkshire and The Humber5,950£50,691,256