We are celebrating a major milestone this week having completed three years as the North West delivery partner for the £310m Start Up Loan programme, providing £7.5m of loans and support to start up businesses in the region.
Since The Start Up Loans Company was launched in Preston by David Cameron in 2012 BFS, which is part of the Manchester Growth Company, is now half way to delivering it’s target of £15m of Start Up Loans to more than 3000 entrepreneurs across the North West.
The Start Up Loans programme has already created thousands of new jobs in the region within a diverse range of industries, from brewing and beauty to retail and IT. Many of the original small businesses are now thriving employers including:
• Nick Mills from Manchester used his 2013 Start Up Loan to launch TicketText, the mobile ticketing platform that enables artists, venues and event organisers to directly connect and engage with their fans. Since launch Nick has grown the business from just himself to a team of five, and works with clients from Jason Manford and Justin Moorhouse to Hat Trick Productions.
• WobbleYou in the Northern Quarter was set up by Daniel Leeson and Mark Sixsmith after receiving the loan in 2012. Since then they have evolved the business to include a range of beauty services, looked after over 4000 individual clients and now employ three full time members of staff in what has becoming a thriving health and fitness business.
• Jo Jaeger Booth from Hyde launched My Student Style in 2013 as a unique platform to showcase the writing and work of her fellow students. Jo has now worked with thousands of UK students, is the youngest Sage Business Expert Blogger, the North West Ambassador for Virgin Media Pioneers and also regularly blogs for Yahoo! Small Business, Microsoft & TUT.com.
• Marketing agency ZEAL Creative is run by Stewart Hilton and Rob White from their Salford offices. Since receiving the backing of a Start Up Now loan in 2014 company turnover now exceeds £1.5mand they employ ten people working with clients including ASDA, Weetabix, Seabrook and Quorn. They also scooped the 2014 North West Start Up Business of the Year award.
Paul Breen, Director of Business Finance Solutions, which is part of the Manchester Growth Company said: “BFS was at the forefront of Start Up Loans when David Cameron launched the programme here in the North West three years ago. Today we are hugely proud to be celebrating the investment of over £7.5million into the region – money that has helped more than 1300 people to set up businesses that otherwise simply would not exist.”
Tim Sawyer, Chairman & CEO of the Start Up Loan Company, said: “From day one Start Up Loans has been a brilliant way to help the next generation of aspiring or early stage business owners get the financial help, the advice and the confidence they need to turn their ideas into thriving businesses. Having successfully reached the halfway point of the £15m North West loan allocation we’ve also proved that we’re in this for the long term. The companies that we have helped to get off the ground are now creating jobs, building communities and helping to shape lives for this highly competitive economic era.”