British Business Bank provides £7.5m of loans to South West entrepreneurs since 2012

By Nick Batten on 16 February, 2024

Start-Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has announced that it has provided more than £100m worth of funding to business owners aged between 18-24 years old, equating to more than 15,000 loans since the programme launched in 2012. 

Of that national total, £7.5m of funding has been provided to 1,008 young entrepreneurs in the South West, with Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire ranking as the most entrepreneurial counties in the region based on the number of loans provided, and Dorset and Somerset not far behind. 

By county, Devon had the highest number of young entrepreneurs receiving a Start Up Loan at 248, followed by Gloucestershire at 143 and Cornwall with 140. Dorset and Somerset followed closely behind with 139 and 134 respectively.

91 loans were made to under 25s in Wiltshire.

See below for a full breakdown of loans by South West county, including the total volume and value of loans.

Of those to receive a Start-Up Loan across the UK, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5m), hospitality (£5.8m) and arts and entertainment (£2.5m). 

The funding milestone comes as the Start Up Loans programme launches a new information campaign aimed at students considering entrepreneurship as a career option so they can make their business dreams a reality. The advertising campaign is running across 54 UK cities, and students simply need to scan the QR code on posters and screens around their college and university campuses and surrounding area to access the information. 

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6 per cent per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring. 

Creating social value 

New data shows that the programme’s impact has been particularly noticeable among young entrepreneurs from across the UK, with 16.5% of all loan recipients aged 18-24 being unemployed before they got their loan. 

Of all the loans distributed to entrepreneurs under 25, 39% have gone to female business owners and 24% to business owners from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Steve Conibear, UK Network Director South West at the British Business Bank, said, “It’s amazing to see people in their late teens and early twenties with such ‘can-do’ attitudes and motivation to achieve success in working life. 

“Our £100 million funding milestone is a significant landmark and testament to the hard work of Start Up Loans and its business support partners, in giving people with a good business idea, no matter their age, the chance to access the funding needed to bring it to life. We’re determined to keep backing aspirational young people with money and mentoring.” 

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake, added,  “Every large firm started off as a small business and today’s aspiring young entrepreneurs could be the next success story. I urge them to explore how a Start Up Loan could launch their ambitions today.”

See below for a full breakdown of loans by regions for young people since 2012, including volume and value of loans

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Pictured above: Steve Conibear, UK Network Director South West at the British Business Bank