THE UK government has handed £1bn out to small firms via its start up loans scheme. The programme, created to help entrepreneurs start and scale up their business has now provided the funding to over 100,000 businesses across the country.
Delivered through the state-owned British Business Bank, the Start Up Loan scheme was developed and launched by the government in 2012 to help new and early-stage UK businesses without sufficient personal funds or support from friends and family to access affordable finance and mentoring support.
The scheme has been particularly successful in supporting entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, creating a level playing field for all who wish to run their own small business in the UK.
Last year, the scheme was expanded to provide finance to eligible businesses operating for up to 5 years to support their growth.
Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “We’re delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy and make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale up a business.
“Across all four nations and every region of the UK, we’ve supported exciting entrepreneurs through one billion pounds of government backed loans, and I want to see even more innovators reach their potential.”
Start Up Loans have been issued to businesses in every UK parliamentary constituency. The majority of loans have also been issued to businesses outside of London and the South East, ensuring that businesses across the UK are able to scale up and grow. Outside of these regions, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber have received the largest shares of the loans, receiving £121,619,51 and £89,997,598 respectively.
Welcoming the news, industry verteran Derek Mackenzie, CEO, Investigo said: “Getting access to funding is one of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs and it’s encouraging to hear that this investment is directly empowering a new generation of women leaders and supporting owners from diverse backgrounds. By unlocking the potential of people from all walks of life, we can build stronger businesses that not only drive economic growth, but also enrich wider society. Key to making this investment have a lasting impact is enabling fast-growing companies to get access to highly skilled people who are equipped in the latest AI and digital capabilities to drive growth for the future.”
Josh Boer, director of technology consultancy VeUP said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy and it’s encouraging to see the government providing substantial support to the next generation of scale-ups and entrepreneurs. However, so much more needs to be done to equip businesses with skills and technology they need to thrive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. By harnessing the power of AI and cloud, businesses can initiate rapid growth, expand their operations, and reach their full potential.”