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15 March 2024

Wales Boosts Mature Entrepreneurship with Nearly £7m in Start Up Loans


The start-up loans programme has announced that it has delivered more than £140m of loans to UK entrepreneurs aged 50+ since its inception in 2012 – 13,422 loans, at an average of £10,427.

Of these loans, £6.9m has gone to business owners over the age of 50 in Wales. 615 loans have been issued to businesses, with an average loan amount of more than £11,000.

A case study example shared by the British Business Bank is a woman from Merthyr Tydfil who left her 18-year career as a social worker to start her own business making pies and claims “you’re never too old to become an entrepreneur”.

Clare Lewis, 54, is owner and founder of Treharris-based Hello Good Pie, an award-winning pie business which produces and delivers fresh, homemade pies across South Wales.

Deciding to pursue her passion for cooking – and spotting a gap in the market for good quality pies – Clare took the leap to start her business following a Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank.

Clare is one of thousands of people from across the UK who took out a loan over the age of 50 to pursue a new business with Start Up Loans, which is part of the British Business Bank

Speaking about her £17,500 Start Up Loan, Clare said:

“I’d worked in social services almost half my life and I hit a turning point in my career where I felt like it was time for change. Leaving my job gave me time to re-explore my interests and cooking great quality food was one of those things! I’d actually always dreamt of owning my own business, my brother had franchises with Subway and Papa Johns, so going into the food industry was something I’d been thinking about from the age of 20. Without my loan I wouldn’t have got my business off the ground. I had my product, but I needed the extra money to put together my branding and buy my catering trailer.

“And I am so happy to say that the business is thriving and I’ve won multiple awards for my pies. Now I’m looking for ways to expand and find a bigger space to cook my pies from. It might have taken me until I was in my 50s to take the leap into my dream business, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think you’re never too old to learn new skills, so for anyone considering it no matter their age, I would encourage them to go for it, they might be surprised to find out how many people want to hear their idea.”

Breakdown of the top 10 constituencies for loans delivered to over 50s in Wales:

Susan Nightingale, UK Network Director for the Devolved Nations, British Business Bank, said:

“As Clare demonstrates, you can further your business ambitions at any age. It’s why we encourage anyone with a good business idea to get in touch and learn more about how the Start Up Loans programme might be able to help turn it into reality. It is interesting to note the high proportion of the funding during and after the pandemic, suggesting that many people of 50+ re-evaluated and took action to pursue their business ambitions.”

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.

If you would like to learn more about Start Up Loans support, visit: HERE

 



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