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North West businesses receive highest number of Start Up Loans outside of London

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme today announces that it has passed a major milestone of £600 million worth of loans delivered outside of London. Since its launch in 2012, the Bank has provided 10,881 loans to entrepreneurs in the North West, making up 12 per cent of the national figure.

Start Up Loans provides mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners across the UK and its impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure finance from traditional lenders.

Businesses in the North West received over £94 million in Start Up Loans. Of these loans, 39 per cent went to female-owned businesses. These figures reflect the diversity of entrepreneurialism across the country and highlight the success of the programme in supporting small businesses that reside outside London.

Case study: Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes, Kendal, Cumbria

Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes is a recipient of the Start Up Loans programme. Founded by Elaine Remy and based in Kendal, it received a loan of £5,000 in January 2020. Elaine set up the company after her mother Viola, known as Vie, passed away. She wanted to honour her mum as the generous and talented cake-maker she was and turn the loss into a legacy.

Elaine Remy, Founder of Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes said: “It was a tricky start for us, just two weeks after we sold our first cake, the UK was plunged into the first lockdown and all the events that we had planned to sell at were cancelled. Thanks to the Start Up Loan, we were able to get a website up and running, put some money into marketing and ramp up production. We’ve now been able to establish partnerships with rum companies and create a subscription service.

Having the support from Start Up Loans, as a government-backed programme, gave me the confidence to believe in myself and fully make the move to become by own boss. I hadn’t come from a business background, so whilst the low interest loans were brilliant, having access to the pre-and-post loan advice and guidance was crucial for me, and is ultimately what attracted me to Start Up Loans as a lender.”

Sophie Dale-Black, UK Network Director, North of England, 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 the strength of the North West reflects the broad diversity and ambition of the region’s small businesses at a grass roots level.

We have always been committed to providing support and funding to small 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.

We are proud that our loans, mentoring and support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs is helping to support the Build Back Better agenda and we’re delighted to have been able to help Elaine make her dream into a reality.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “There is so much creativity and dynamism in the North West and across the UK, but without access to funding and support it’s difficult to fully unlock the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country great.

“From Kendal mint cake, to lead pencils and Peter Rabbit, the Lake District has a proud history of creativity and innovation, a legacy which dynamic new businesses like Vie’s Rum Cakes are continuing.

“The Start Up Loans programme has helped a diverse range of entrepreneurs across the UK to get their business ideas off the ground, levelling up the entire country and enabling talented business leaders from all backgrounds to flourish.”