Richard Bearman, Managing Director at The British Business Bank and is responsible for the Start Up Loans programme
Starting and growing your own business is an exciting prospect. It allows you to follow your passion, become your own boss and take ownership of your career.
But the highs of escaping the nine to five come with significant challenges. The good news is that there is a lot of help out there for people who want to take the plunge – it’s just a question of knowing where to look to access the right support, advice and funding you need.
Sources of affordable finance
Raising or sourcing affordable finance is one of the main challenges that aspiring businesses owners face. Lenders will want to see a detailed business plan and cash flow forecast and even with those, start ups can struggle to be eligible for a loan from banks and other mainstream finance providers owing to the lack of collateral, credit history or trading history.
Fortunately, there are alternative sources of funding, including the Government-funded Start Up Loans programme. The programme is part of the British Business Bank, the government-owned economic development bank. Start Up Loans provide fixed-interest loans of up to £25,000 to aspiring business owners across the UK. Since it was set up in 2012, it has lent over £519 million pounds through more than 65,730 loans, of which over 4,416 loans went to business owners in the East of England.
East Anglia business owners
One example of such business owners is entrepreneurial couple Kevin and Kellie Bath from Halstead, who founded low-sugar spread business, JimJams.
Kevin was working full time in London when one morning, as he and his children were having pancakes, he noticed the amount of sugar in their favourite breakfast spread. Kevin and his wife Kellie set about researching healthier options and realised there was no low-sugar alternative available.
That’s when, with no prior experience in the food industry, Kevin decided to quit his lucrative job in the City and use a Start Up Loan of £25,000 to launch his own brand of low-sugar chocolate spreads, jams and marmalades.
Four years on, their spreads are available in major UK supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Their annual turnover grew by 106% between 2017 and 2018 and at the end of last year, the business expanded to America, selling in Publix stores – the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States – across 800 of its outlets.
Find out more
Starting a business can be daunting, there’s no doubt about it, but it can also be one of the most exciting and thrilling things you ever do.
So, if you’ve got an idea that you think fills a gap in the market, get in touch. We encourage you to read more on the free support and advice section of our website and the straightforward application process for a loan can be accessed at the following link: www.startuploans.co.uk/apply