Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at 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 5.7m small businesses make a huge contribution to society, and it’s great to see the latest research showing that the economic benefits of the Start-Up Loans program 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.”
Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “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.”
Small business owners have benefited from more than £500m in loans from a Government-backed scheme set up to help to fuel the growth of new businesses.
Since 2012 the British Business Bank has used its Start-Up Loans program to inject £500m into the UK’s business sector, with more than 63,000 businesses getting support.
The cash has been distributed to a diverse range of business owners, with 37.8% being women while more than a quarter (27.8%) of the recipients were unemployed when they applied for the loan.
Though £100m of the loans went to companies in London, other regions have also benefited, with almost 8,000 companies in the North West sharing £59.6m, while firms in the South East got £49.6m, Yorkshire and the Humber companies shared £44.3m and the South West was allocated £40.8m.
Elsewhere firms there were loans to businesses in the West Midlands (£40.6m), East of England (£32.5m), the North East (£28.5m), Wales (£26.2m) and the East Midlands (£26m).
One business to benefit from the Start-Up Loans scheme is Tyneside firm Seaweed & Co., which promotes the nutritional benefits of seaweed to food manufacturers.
The company, founded by marine biologist Craig Rose, now has its own brand of seaweed products sold under the brand Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful. They are due to hit shelves in Sainsbury’s supermarkets this summer.
Mr. Rose said: “Seaweed & Co. is going from strength to strength and, as a marine biologist, I am thrilled that the nutritional benefits of seaweed are becoming increasingly understood and applied through our range of products.
“Starting a business is not easy. There are many highs but also various challenges. 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.”