Start Up Loans set to unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs in Wales following the pandemic

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, today sets out its commitment to unlock the talent of thousands more people across the UK by helping them to start their own business.

The disruptive impact of Coronavirus on the UK’s economy and traditional working patterns has catalysed many to reconsider their careers, whether because of additional time to reflect during lockdown, furlough or a change in employment status.

Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered over 955 loans to unemployed people in Wales, worth over £5.4m. Since 2012, 25% of people to have received Government-backed funding in the region were unemployed.

Of the 80,000+ Start Up Loans recipients across the UK since 2012, a third (31%) were unemployed at the time of application. Start Up Loans data also indicates that the scheme is particularly effective in enabling young entrepreneurs to start up a business, with millennials representing more than half (54%) of all previously unemployed loan recipients since 2012.

The Start Up Loans scheme has also seen this trend continue with the youngest generation of entrepreneurs, with double the number of Gen Z (18-24 year old) applicants using the scheme as a route out of unemployment in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Start Up Loans scheme was initially set up as the UK economy was recovering from the 2008 credit crisis, with a mission to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance. Building on a nine-year track record of success, the scheme is set to play a vital role as our economy starts to rebuild after the impact of Covid-19, providing both funding and wider support for people starting up their own business for the first time.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said:

“Start Up Loans is uniquely positioned to drive the nation’s investment in creative, entrepreneurial talent of any age, thanks to our extensive network of delivery partners and support services. As well as a loan, we support individuals with the practical steps they need to take to begin their own enterprise from writing business plans, accounting and marketing, as well as access to learning with partners such as The Open University

“It is paramount that we do everything to empower the next generation of young working talent, who have an important part to play in unlocking the UK’s economic recovery, by giving them every chance to succeed, whatever their circumstances. Unemployment can have a catastrophic impact on an individual’s financial security, self-confidence and ability to apply for finance from lenders, and the support provided by Start Up Loans can be of particular use to younger, less experienced business owners.”

 

UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“From radar and microphones, to hydrogen batteries and ball bearings, Wales has a proud history of world-leading innovation and entrepreneurial spirit which the British Business Bank is supporting with funding from the UK Government.

“The Start Up Loans programme has helped more than 3,800 pioneering Welsh businesses to get off the ground, including many owned by young or unemployed people, and so I encourage aspiring Welsh entrepreneurs to explore the support on offer from the UK Government.”

 

Aoife Doherty, Founder of Floris, said:

“When I was studying in university it was difficult to find eco-friendly stationary that wasn’t boring or super simple in design. I have a flair for creativity and having studied Graphic Design, I realised that I could harness my skills and turn them into a business. So, with the help from my £9,000 Start Up Loan – and lots of time spend designing – Floris was born!

“Starting my business during the Covid-19 pandemic was without a doubt a challenge. In the initial phase of the business I had a stall at a market, but because of the restrictions and lockdowns I had to think on my feet about how I could keep growing my business in other ways. So, I decided to host an ‘online market’ through my website and it was a true success!

“Although things hadn’t gone to plan, it gave me a chance to re-focus my attention on developing my online presence – which completely worked in my favour.”

“When you are your own boss it’s so important to be open to all solutions and ideas. Particularly at the moment, staying open-minded to change and relying on your support network – whether that’s people in your personal life or fellow business owners – makes a world of difference!”

Aoife Doherty set up Floris in November 2020 after graduating from the University of Reading with a BA Hons in Graphic Design. After noticing a gap in the market for eco-friendly stationery she decided to take out a Start Up Loan of £9,000 to help support the manufacturing of her products and designtools.
 

Katy Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Start Up Loans Delivery Partner, Business in Focus, said:

“At Business in Focus we are dedicated to working with the Start Up Loans scheme to ensure that applicants receive the right support to thrive as owners of their own business. Enterprising talent will make a key contribution to our national economic recovery over the coming years and we look forward to continuing to work with businesses, such as Floris across Wales, in our shared mission to inspire entrepreneurs around the UK.”

The Start Up Loans programme provides finance and support for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle to access other forms of finance, working with a national network of Delivery Partners based across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.