Start Up Loans set to unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs in the West Midlands following the pandemic

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, on Tuesday 18 May sets out its commitment to unlock the talent of thousands more people across the UK by helping them to start their own business.

The disruptive impact of Coronavirus on the UK’s economy and traditional working patterns has catalysed many to reconsider their careers, whether because of additional time to reflect during lockdown, furlough or a change in employment status.

Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered over 2,500 loans to unemployed people in the West Midlands, worth over £11.3m. Since 2012, 37% of people to have received Government-backed funding in the region were unemployed.

Of the 80,000+ Start Up Loans recipients across the UK since 2012, a third (31%) were unemployed at the time of application. Start Up Loans data also indicates that the scheme is particularly effective in enabling young entrepreneurs to start up a business, with millennials representing more than half (54%) of all previously unemployed loan recipients since 2012.

The Start Up Loans scheme has also seen this trend continue with the youngest generation of entrepreneurs, with double the number of Gen Z (18-24 year old) applicants using the scheme as a route out of unemployment in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Start Up Loans scheme was initially set up as the UK economy was recovering from the 2008 credit crisis, with a mission to make business ownership a viable career for individuals who would struggle to raise finance. Building on a nine-year track record of success, the scheme is set to play a vital role as our economy starts to rebuild after the impact of Covid-19, providing both funding and wider support for people starting up their own business for the first time.

 Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said: “Start Up Loans is uniquely positioned to drive the nation’s investment in creative, entrepreneurial talent of any age, thanks to our extensive network of delivery partners and support services. As well as a loan, we support individuals with the practical steps they need to take to begin their own enterprise from writing business plans, accounting and marketing, as well as access to learning with partners such as The Open University.

“It is paramount that we do everything to empower the next generation of young working talent, who have an important part to play in unlocking the UK’s economic recovery, by giving them every chance to succeed, whatever their circumstances. Unemployment can have a catastrophic impact on an individual’s financial security, self-confidence and ability to apply for finance from lenders, and the support provided by Start Up Loans can be of particular use to younger, less experienced business owners.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “This Government’s Start Up Loans programme has a phenomenal track record of backing budding entrepreneurs, having helped more than 6,850 in the West Midlands to get off the ground.

“I would encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in the West Midlands, whether they’re young people just getting started, or experienced pros looking for a fresh start, to explore the fantastic support available from the British Business Bank.”

Matthew Martin and his wife, Corina Martin, launched Cod of Duty, a mobile Fish and Chips food truck, in December 2020 using two £17,000 Start Up Loans. Having both worked in hospitality and been made redundant the previous month, they decided to make their dream of owning a food business together a reality. After dedicated a lot of time to naming the business, the name they landed on sprang to mind while playing video games.

The demand for the business offering was immediate, with product selling out within 30 minutes on their first day of opening. Now, with three spots secured to park the food truck and several street markets booked in, Matthew is keen to keep expanding the business’ portfolio and obtain bookings for weddings, parties and corporate events.

Matthew Martin, Co-Founder of Cod of Duty, said: “After years of working in the hospitality industry we didn’t want to put our years of experience in the industry to waste. As a previous Chef and Front of House Supervisor, together we made a pretty good duo!

“We’d always thought about starting our own business, so when we were faced with redundancy, it seemed like the perfect time to do it. We launched our own mobile fish and chip shop – Cod of Duty with the financial support from Start Up Loans, which helped us to grow in a matter of months, and we haven’t stopped learning since.

“Starting your own business is all about being patient, being positive and believing in what you’re doing. It’s been an exciting journey since we started and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director of Start Up Loans Delivery Partner, Virgin StartUp said: “Virgin StartUp exists to help founders in the UK to start and scale early stage businesses. We’re proud to be working with the British Business Bank to deliver the Start Up Loans scheme to ensure that applicants receive the right combination of funding and support, to not only start up and survive, but thrive. Small businesses have such a vitally important role to play as we look to rebuild communities, the economy and the world more broadly.  We look forward to continuing to work with future founders, in our shared mission to inspire entrepreneurs around the UK.”

The Start Up Loans programme provides finance and support for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle to access other forms of finance, working with a national network of Delivery Partners based across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
For more information, visit the Start Up loans website here –