Government-backed scheme lends £500m to small businesses

Small businesses have been taking advantage of a Government-backed lending scheme, with new data revealing just how many have been helped so far.

New data from the British Business Bank shows that more than £500million has been loaned to small businesses in the UK as part of its Start Up Loans programme, since it was set up in 2012.

Funding has been allocated across the UK and this has been used to set up businesses in a variety of sectors. The British Business Bank reports that the impact of the scheme has been particularly noticeable in areas of deprivation.

As well as money, the Start Up Loans programme also provides of a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help with every aspect of setting up a business.

Funding breakdown

A special Start Up Loans heatmap tracking the distribution of the £500million shows the North West region received the highest number of loans outside of London, with 7,841 loans worth a total of £60 million. The South East follows with 5,680 loans worth a total of £48 million followed by Yorkshire and The Humber with 5,377 loans worth a total of £44 million. There were 3,879 loans in Scotland (£29 million) and 2,904 loans in Wales (£26 million).

Of those who received a loan, 39% were women, 22% came from black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and 36% were unemployed when they applied for a loan.

Committed to helping small businesses prosper

Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer of the British Business Bank, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we have supported so many fantastic small business owners from up and down the country. The hard work and determination of the UK’s 5.7 million small businesses make a huge contribution to society, and it’s great to see latest research showing that the economic benefits of the Start Up Loans programme are nearly six times its economic costs.

“We’re committed to helping small businesses prosper and grow and we look forward to supporting many more in the future.”

Kelly Tolhurst, Small Business Minister, added: “This half a billion pound funding milestone is a great cause for celebration and a clear demonstration of our modern Industrial Strategy in action – supporting people to start and grow a business, creating good jobs and increasing the earning power of people throughout the UK.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I’m particularly pleased to see that so many women and entrepreneurs from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds have benefited from this government-backed scheme. This record funding is backing the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit and enabling people across the country to follow their passions and start and grow a business.”

You can find out more about the Start Up Loans programme at