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East Midlands shows entrepreneurial spirit with £6.9m helping unemployed people to start a business

18 May 2021

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

The disruptive impact of Coronavirus on the UK’s economy and traditional working patterns has catalysed many to reconsider their careers, whether because of additional time to reflect during lockdown, furlough or a change in employment status.

Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered over 1,650 loans to unemployed people in the East Midlands, worth over £6.9m. Since 2012, 36% of people to have received Government-backed funding in the region were unemployed.

Of the 80,000+ Start Up Loans recipients across the UK since 2012, a third (31%) were unemployed at the time of application. Start Up Loans data also indicates that the scheme is 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 Gen Z (18-24 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 credit crisis, with a mission to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance. Building on a nine-year track record of success, the scheme is set to play a vital role as our economy starts to rebuild after the impact of Covid-19, providing both funding and wider support for people starting up their own business for the first time.

 Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said: “Start Up Loans is uniquely positioned to drive the nation’s investment in creative, entrepreneurial talent of any age, thanks to our extensive network of delivery partners and support services. 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. Unemployment can have a catastrophic impact on an individual’s financial security, self-confidence and ability to apply for finance from lenders, and the support provided by Start Up Loans can be of particular use to younger, less experienced business owners.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “This Government’s Start Up Loans programme has a phenomenal track record of backing budding entrepreneurs, having helped more than 4,610 in the East Midlands to get off the ground.

“I would encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in the East Midlands, whether they’re young people just getting started, or experienced pros looking for a fresh start, to explore the fantastic support available from the British Business Bank.”

 

Lamar Griffith and Reece Walker, both 22, launched 21st Century Repairs, a van-based phone repair service based in Nottingham, in January 2019.

Ever since they first met at school when they were ten, the pair had wanted to create a business that was doing something completely different. Having kept an eye on consumer trends while Reece was working in phone repair and Lamar was playing football for Peterborough, they noticed that ‘convenience’ was becoming an increasingly big industry, especially in the food and hospitality sector. They decided to combine this insight with their expertise to create a business that brought this same convenience to the mobile services market.

The pair took out a Start Up Loan of £4,000 in November 2018 to purchase their van and fund its branding. Since launching, the business has flourished, with Lamar and Reece constantly expanding their offering to meet demand, such as sourcing the technology to repair a phone’s back glass.

Lamar Griffiths, Co-Founder of 21st Century Repairs said: We were surprised to find that our biggest challenge is not always the technical part of fixing phones – it’s handling our customers, who can be very attached to their mobiles. Since we began, we have learnt a lot about customer service like managing expectations and explaining when complex parts will take longer to order.”

 “Our advice to any business owner would be to avoid overdoing things at the beginning. When you overstretch yourself, you end up burning out, you start missing deadlines, complaints come in and the business starts feeling negative. So, pace yourself: make a list, complete everything on it and then pause to reflect.”

 

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director of Start Up Loans Delivery Partner, Virgin StartUp said“Virgin StartUp exists to help founders in the UK to start and scale early stage businesses. We’re proud to be working with the British Business Bank to deliver the Start Up Loans scheme to ensure that applicants receive the right combination of funding and support, to not only start up and survive, but thrive. Small businesses have such a vitally important role to play as we look to rebuild communities, the economy and the world more broadly.  We look forward to continuing to work with future founders, in our shared mission to inspire entrepreneurs around the UK.”

The Start Up Loans programme provides finance and support for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle to access other forms of finance, working with a national network of Delivery Partners based across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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