Government-Backed Start Up Loans Lends £26m to Small Businesses in Wales


British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has lent £500 million to UK small businesses since it was set up in 2012 – with over £26m going to Wales, according to official figures published today.

Of the 63,920 loans issued to fund small business across the UK, 2,904 went to aspiring business owners in Wales worth £26m, with the average loan amounting to £9,021.

Of those who received a loan, more than a third were women (37.1%), and over a quarter (29.5%) were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK start up community.

The Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank, has lent money and provided mentoring support to aspiring business owners in every part of the country and its impact has been particularly noticeable in areas of deprivation.

A Start Up Loans Heatmap, which goes live on Thursday, shows the regional breakdown of the £500m, and that the North West region was given the highest number of loans outside of London, receiving 7,841 loans worth £60 million. The South East follows with 5,680 loans worth £48 million followed by Yorkshire and The Humber with 5,377 loans worth £44 million. There were 3,879 loans in Scotland worth £29 million and 2,904 loans in Wales worth £26 million.

Case Study: Aberffraw Biscuit Co , Aberffraw 

Welsh business owners supported by Start Up Loans have used the funding to set up businesses in a wide range of sectors.  They include James Shepherd, the founder of Aberffraw Biscuit Co. James set up his businesses selling the traditional Welsh biscuit after discovering that the basic shortbread in the shape of a scallop was the oldest biscuit in Britain. With the help of a £5,000 Start Up Loan, the business has gone from strength to strength and in 2015 James was named Welsh Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year.

Case Study: Health & Food, Llanrwst

Katerina Pavlakis and husband Colin Bass are founders of Health & Food, a wholefoods shop in Llanrwst. They started the business after moving to Snowdonia with the aim of finding an opportunity to make the people in the community healthier and happier. They used a £10,000 Start Up Loan to take over a failing business and turn it into a thriving village shop – Health & Food – focusing on providing the community with healthy local produce.

Health & Food is now a lively community hub in Llanrwst, providing a local newsletter and customer loyalty cards. The shop is becoming increasingly environmentally friendly, introducing compostable packaging and hoping to invest in plastic-free dispensers as part its expansion plans.

James Shepherd, the founder of Aberffraw Biscuit Co, said:

“My business is going from strength to strength and I’m thrilled that people are falling in love with my traditional Welsh biscuits.

“Starting a business requires passion and determination. There are many highs but also many lows. Start Up Loans supported us every step of the way and we really wouldn’t be where we are today without their help and expertise.”

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, said:

“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.”

 Breakdown of loans by region

Region No. of loans Total value (£)
London 14,931 £118.0m
North West 7,841 £59.6m
South East 5,680 £47.6m
Yorkshire and The Humber 5,377 £44.3m
South West 5,308 £40.8m
West Midlands 5,423 £40.6m
East of England 4,265 £32.5m
Scotland 3,879 £28.7m
North East 3,701 £28.5m
Wales 2,904 £26.2m
East Midlands 3,602 £26.0m
Northern Ireland 1,009 £7.3m

 Figures in this release are drawn from data on delivery of loans up to 15 May 2019, when the programme passed the £500m mark.