Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Welsh Entrepreneurs Start Two Businesses with Support from the Start Up Loan Company

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Enterprising young couple Jay and Sarah Anderson have started not one, but two businesses with support from the Start Up Loan Company (SULC).

Jays Autocare based at New Inn near Pontypool has got off to a flying start this summer, and Sarah’s hairdressing  business, Lush Locks, is bringing in customers. The couple obtained SULC loans through Newtown-based Robert Owen Community Banking (ROCB).

Sarah explained why they both decided to take the plunge into self-employment:

“We had been caring for an elderly relative, and found ourselves unemployed. We both wanted to be in work, so using our skills and qualifications to set up businesses seemed the right thing to do.”

Jay had worked as a mechanic for 10 years in the Cwmbran area, and Sarah gained a Level 2 qualification in Beauty from Coleg Y Cwmmoed.

Jays Autocare has a growing customer base in the local area, with clients bringing their vehicles for servicing, 3D tracking, brakes, gearboxes and modifications. Within three years Jay says the plan is to open an MOT service and take on another apprentice, in addition to the one already working there.

“The business is growing through word of mouth and we are building a reputation,” said Jay.

Lush Locks operates from the Anderson family home in Cwmbran and offers a mobile service in the Torfaen area.

“I am very pleased with the progress Lush Locks is making and I am hoping to take on an apprentice as the business grows,” said Sarah.

The husband and wife team initially got advice on funding from Torfean Council business services, who put them in touch with business consultant David Garner. He applied on their behalf for a SULC loan, administered by Robert Owen Community Banking.

ROCB is one of the administrators of the Start Up Loan Scheme in Wales, and has lent over £1 million to 140 businesses in Wales in just over four years. In the first half of 2017, ROCB had already lent over £300,000 to 44 businesses, exceeding expectations.

Loan size is also increasing with the average rising to £8000, compared with £5000 four years ago.

SULC is part of a UK Government initiative to stimulate enterprise in Britain, and has provided £230 million of funding to thousands of UK businesses.

The scheme offers loans at 6%, and also free mentoring and advice for 12 months on how to create a business plan, cash flow and other issues faced by new businesses.

“It was pleasing to see two new businesses launched with the help of the SULC programme and I wish Sarah and Jay every success in their ventures,” said David Garner.