West Midlands’ entrepreneurs secure £63m in Start Up Loans

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has invested over £63 million in the West Midlands.

Dr Sophie Dale-Black
Dr Sophie Dale-Black

The programme, which provides mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners across the UK, has provided a total of 7,264 loans to entrepreneurs in the region.

This follows Start Up Loans hitting a milestone of £600m worth of loans delivered outside of London – providing 68,559 loans since launching in 2012.

Start Up Loans’ impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals that are finding it difficult to secure finance from traditional lenders.

Dr Sophie Dale-Black, Midlands UK network director at the British Business Bank, said: “The British Business Bank is committed to increasing access to business finance. By hitting this latest milestone and delivering over £63m in the West Midlands, the Start Up Loans programme is providing critical support to a new generation of entrepreneurs.

"The Start Up Loans programme is of real benefit to those with a business dream but struggling to access the finance to realise it. Real Life Role Models is a great example of how the programme is not only supporting the creation of new businesses, but also delivering social impact, with the firm providing respite and mentoring sessions for young people.”

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.

Michael Hughes secured £7,000 from Start Up Loans – through The Hub – to launch a new service providing respite and mentoring sessions for young people with autism. Since launch in July 2020, Real Life Role Models, which is based in Solihull, has grown to a staff of 10.

He explained: “The Start Up Loan has given me the ability to commit to the project full time and leave my previous job - taking on more staff to create capacity for clients and engage young people.

"We are currently working with over 30 families and are commissioned by local authorities for projects. We also work with schools to support young people. Without the Start Up Loans programme, none of this would be possible."

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