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Start Up Loans provides more than £13million to Welsh microbusinesses

Government backed scheme boss pays visit to local business owner with Cardiff North MP to mark 2017 milestone.

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The Start Up Loans Company (SULCo) has lent a total of £13million to help kick-start local start ups in Wales, with £2 million going to micro business owners in Cardiff.

Since launching in 2012, the Government-backed scheme has lent to more than 1,700 business owners in Wales, and 44,000 overall across the UK.

To celebrate lending £13million to Welsh microbusinesses, and to mark the £2million milestone in Cardiff, local MP for Cardiff North, Craig Williams, met Tim Sawyer, CEO at the Start Up Loans Company to discuss how the scheme has benefitted Welsh start ups. With £2million lent to Cardiff businesses specifically, Craig Williams met North Cardiff-based business, Gym Vision, to discuss how the funding has helped a local success story.

GymVision, a fitness and sports therapy gym, launched in November 2014 after securing a £25,000 Start Up loan. The business, based in Pontprennau, Cardiff, offers fitness classes, sports massage therapy and flexible personal training courses for residents in the local area.

Married couple Andrew Murray, 34, and Francesca Murray, 37, decided to launch the business after wanting greater independence and flexibility over their working hours. With over 20 years of combined experience in personal training, the fitness duo wanted to create their own gym that champions fitness within the local community.

After securing financial backing from Start Up Loans, the couple used the loan to renovate studio space and purchase the fitness equipment. After a successful year, Andrew and Francesca recently launched an in-store fitness clothing line, which they hope to expand further into 2017.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, now known as the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, formed the scheme in 2012. The Start Up Loans Company provides loans up to £25,000 at 6% fixed rate per annum, in addition to offering a mentoring service to each business it supports.

Francesca Murray, co-owner of Gym Vision, said:

“After working in the fitness industry for over two decades, my husband and I decided to take a leap of faith and start our own business. We realised that we had the fitness expertise to go it alone, but we were unsure of how to translate this knowledge into a proper business proposal. Our assigned Start Up Loans mentor helped us outline our business plan from the beginning, which definitely made the experience far less daunting. Not only has it been great to watch the business grow from strength to strength, but as a working mum, being my own boss has given me invaluable flexibility over the hours I work.”

Craig Williams, MP for Cardiff North, said:

“It’s fantastic to see such an appetite for start ups in Wales, with Cardiff proving to become an entrepreneurial epicenter for the region. Reaching the £13million lending milestone to Welsh microbusinesses is a great testament to the ambition of budding business owners in both Wales and Cardiff. As the scheme continues to make progress, I’m looking forward to seeing more businesses flourish as a result of receiving Start Up Loan funding.”

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans Company, said:

“Access to finance is a common problem for those wanting to start their own business. But we know that start-ups always bring something fresh and innovative to the market, so it’s fantastic to see that Wales has received £13million of funding. I am keen to see more entrepreneurs in Cardiff, and across the whole of Wales, take the decision into their own hands and start their own businesses and the Start Up Loans Company is proud to support this growth. I am especially grateful for the support from local MPs like Craig Williams to help get the message out that access to finance need not be a problem.”