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British Business Bank expands Start Up Loans programme in Wales

Co-founder of Goji Hair Victoria Griffin

Providing vital support to Welsh start ups during a challenging economic period, the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has expanded to include start-ups that have been trading for up to three years and second Start Up Loans are now available to eligible businesses that have been trading for up to five years. The programme previously provided finance to start ups which had been trading for up to two years.

Start Up Loans’ expansion follows the 2021/22 Spending Review, at which the government made the commitment to provide 33,000 loans to the programme over the next three years. The scheme has already delivered more than 4,300 loans worth more than £43m to new business owners in Wales since 2012.

Start Up Loans provides funding at a fixed interest rate of 6%, as well as 12 months’ mentoring to its recipients, further supporting aspiring business owners in every corner of the United Kingdom. Start Up Loans’ impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure loans from traditional lenders.

Case study: Victoria Griffin, founder of Goji Hair from Cardiff, Wales

Victoria took out a loan of £3,700 in 2015 through Start Up Loans delivery partner, Business in Focus, to launch Goji Hair, an organic hair salon. Victoria set up an online shop during the first lockdown, selling her much-loved organic haircare products that were usually bought in-store and delivered them to people’s doors. In 2019, Victoria took out a second loan of £15,000, which enabled her to move to a larger salon to cater for her growing client base.

Victoria Griffin said: “Start Up Loans was instrumental in kick-starting Goji Hair, and the mentoring support provided us with fantastic financial insight to ensure our accounts were in order from day one. Having a second loan option available is brilliant, and means small businesses are able to grow, particularly after the challenges of the last few years.

“I’d encourage aspiring Welsh business owners to explore all finance options available to them, including the second loan for growing businesses, and to make the most of the support that’s available through the scheme.”

Susan Nightingale, Devolved Nations Director, UK Network, said:

“We are delighted to be able to extend the reach of the Start Up Loans programme to help support businesses, including those who need extra support during a challenging economic environment. This extension of the programme will enable us to work with those businesses that had perhaps just got going when the pandemic hit or are ready to consolidate and grow

their businesses now that they are back on their feet. We want to ensure that these businesses do not get left behind.

“We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses that across Wales, with entrepreneurial ambitions across all industry sectors. Having delivered more than £43m in loans to Wales alone highlights our continued efforts to help people from diverse backgrounds achieve their business goals.”

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said:

“From its proud industrial heritage through to the thriving life sciences, aerospace, and services sectors of today, Wales has long been recognised a brilliant place for business.

“In the past decade, we have backed thousands of Welsh small businesses with Start Up Loans totalling £42million, but we want to go further, expanding the scheme to build further jobs and prosperity.”

Martin McTague, Federation of Small Businesses National Chair, said:  “The small business community shrank by 400,000 in the first year of the pandemic.  As the new Government focuses heavily on economic growth and supporting enterprise, a major element of that will be encouraging a new wave of start-ups – the next generation of entrepreneurs from every diverse background, in all our local communities. So we welcome today’s announcement as it will help more people to start-up, and scale-up.”