Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Start ups in Wales Have Received 4,461 Loans Worth More than £44 million


Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, announces that the programme has facilitated over 100,000 loans worth more than £941 million to businesses throughout the UK. The figure marks a significant milestone for the programme since its creation in 2012.

Of the 4,461 loans received in Wales, 37% have been to women and 7% to people from Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority backgrounds (not including White Minorities). Young people between 18-24 years in Wales have received 13% of loans since 2012.

Emily Richards, 32, from Skewen, launched Caru Spirits in April 2022. The company makes sustainably-produced brandy liqueur for distribution to local markets, independent and online shops, such as the flower and gift retailer, Floom.

Emily started experimenting making liqueurs from lemons when she found herself living in the Spanish countryside during the Coronavirus lockdown and the experience inspired her to turn a long-held dream of running an artisanal spirits company into a reality.

After receiving a £25,000 Start Up Loan, Emily was able to pay for the upfront costs of producing the liqueur, as well as a collaboration with one of the UK’s Master Distillers to mature the first Caru Spirits barrel.

Emily Richards, founder of Caru Spirits, said:

“Not only was I provided with the capital I needed to get started, but it was so helpful to have my Start Up Loans mentor to bounce ideas off. I don’t know if I would have gone ahead and launched Caru Spirits if the Start Up Loans programme wasn’t such a supportive experience.”

Other Welsh companies who have taken great strides since receiving a British Business Bank Start Up Loan include the multi award winning brewer, Drop Bear Beer. The business, which started out in a Swansea kitchen in 2019, is now building the UK’s biggest and Wales’s first alcohol free brewery.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said:

“Start Up Loans is instrumental in supporting people across the UK who are looking to start their own businesses, and passing our one hundred thousand loan milestone is an amazing achievement ten years in the making. We could not have achieved this without the dedicated support of our Delivery Partners, UK network or in-house team and I’d like to take this chance to thank them for everything they do to make our work possible.”

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

“It’s great that 4,461 businesses across Wales have had the support of a Government-backed Start Up Loan. Thanks to these loans, and the advice and guidance they come with, over 100,000 firms across Britain now have a brighter future. This government will always stand with small businesses in Wales and across the UK.”

This announcement follows the recent news that Start Up Loans has become an official partner of the StartUp Award Series 2023, as well as the launch of the British Business Bank’s Guide to Business Resilience, a guide created in response to the economic challenges faced by small businesses in 2023. Covering eight key topics for business success, the guide provides practical and actionable guidance for start-ups on what they can do to reduce costs, boost profitability, and increase the resilience of your business, whatever the future holds.