The recipient of the 600 millionth pound from the Start Up Loans programme was Will Smith, from County Down, who took out loans of £6,000.
The Comber-based entrepreneur set up his business, Ballywilliam Barn in January 2020 to follow an ambition of making his bespoke creations available for others to buy.
The support Will received from the British Business Bank has enabled Ballywilliam Barn to increase its capacity and take on larger projects earlier than expected.
Will received two Start Up Loans, the first for £3,500 which he used to invest in essential machinery and the second for £2,500 which he used to purchase a table saw.
“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 in areas such as marketing, legal issues and insurance that kept me on the right track from the start.
Before hearing about the British Business Bank, I had been planning on using a credit card to fund the machinery but now my interest rate is better, and the term is shorter which again makes taking a loan and investing in my business a less daunting prospect.
I hadn’t come from a business background, so whilst the low interest loans were brilliant, having access to the pre-and-post loan advice and guidance was crucial for me, and is ultimately what attracted me to Start Up Loans as a lender.”