The British Business Bank, the UK’s national business development bank, and the Start Up Loans Company, a government-backed scheme supporting microbusinesses with access to finance, will merge from today after both boards ratified the joint decision.
The merger enables both organisations to collaborate as they seek to support microbusinesses and deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment of 75,000 Start-Up Loans by 2020. It brings several advantages to both organisations; including sharing of expertise, clarity for the small business community and the opportunity to combine approaches used for supporting smaller businesses.
The British Business Bank and the Start Up Loans Company have been working closely since 2014. During this period, the Bank has been providing advice to Government on the Start Up Loans programme’s funding, objectives and performance, and overseeing the programme on its behalf.
There will be a transition period until 1 July, during which time operations will be brought together. Both the Bank and Start Up Loans Company (SULCo) will stay in their current offices and retain all existing branding with no changes to frontline services.
The announcement comes just as SULCo’s total lending figure surpasses £300million this week, after co-founders of The Oystermen, Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton, secured the programme’s 46,400th loan to fund the opening of their first oyster restaurant in Covent Garden. The initiative has supported an average of 11,200 loans a year since its inception in 2012.
Keith Morgan, CEO of British Business Bank, said: “The Bank has been working closely with the Start Up Loans Company for several years and this merger will bring the two organisations, which already have a shared sense of purpose and complementary skills, closer together. This is a natural next step, an exciting moment for everyone involved, and means we can deliver a better service for smaller businesses.”
Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans, said: “Since launching in 2012, the Start Up Loans Company, with support from the British Business Bank, has lent £300million to microbusinesses across the UK. This merger recognises how successful our partnership with the Bank has been and helps us improve our support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance.
“Providing more than 46,400 loans to businesses across the UK is a testament to the drive and ambition of people throughout the country. The Oystermen is a great example of a business idea which has been brought to life with a Start Up Loan. They now have a solid business plan in place which will see them grow their footprint across London and bring oysters to more seafood lovers in the capital and beyond.”