finance

Start Up Loans commits support for young Scottish entrepreneurs during the pandemic



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

Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered more than 2,290 loans to unemployed people in Scotland, worth £10.2m.

This includes more than £1.3 million to unemployed applicants from Scotland between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 31 2021.

Its data also shows that 43% of people to have received the UK Government-backed funding in the country were unemployed.

The scheme appears to be 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 Generation Z (18 to 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 financial crisis, with a mission to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance.

Richard Bearman, managing director at Start Up Loans, said: “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.”

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UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Scotland gave the world the telephone, the television, marmalade and Dennis the Menace and the UK Government is backing that proud history of world-leading innovation and entrepreneurial spirit through the British Business Bank.

“The Start Up Loans programme has helped more than 5,200 pioneering Scottish businesses to get off the ground, including many owned by young or unemployed people, and so I encourage aspiring Scottish entrepreneurs to explore the support on offer from the UK Government.”

Julie Di Toro and her partner, Sam Barker, took out a Start Up Loan in two parts in August and September 2020 to launch Mistral, an independent wine shop.

After the pandemic left them both unemployed, the pair decided to make the most of the opportunity and use their experience in the hospitality industry to launch the business they’d always dreamed of.

With experience working in the industry in London, New Zealand and Australia, they were confident that when they moved to Sam’s hometown, Edinburgh, that Leith would be the perfect location to open shop.

Julie Di Toro said: “Our initial intention was to set up a wine bar, but due to restrictions we instead had to branch out into the retail space. This was an unknown territory for us but, thankfully, the mentoring we received from Start Up Loans helped guide us through any hurdles.

“Being your own boss is a tricky thing to get used to; you have yourself to thank for the good decisions, but the mistakes are your responsibility too.”

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The Start-Up Loans Company was formed in June 2012, providing personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a 6% fixed interest rate per annum, with free support.

The funding is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A network of delivery partner organisations support applicants in all regions and industries throughout the UK.

The scheme is not designed to generate a commercial profit. Capital payments, together with the interest, are recycled to help meet the increasing demand for finance.

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