The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has invested over £41m in the East Midlands.
The programme, which provides mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners across the UK, has provided a total of 4,848 loans to entrepreneurs in the East Midlands.
This follows Start Up Loans hitting a milestone of £600m delivered outside of London – providing 68,559 loans to entrepreneurs since launching in 2012.
Start Up Loans’ impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals that are finding it difficult to secure finance from traditional lenders.
Three female entrepreneurs used funding from Start Up Loans to launch an Indian restaurant and takeaway in Nottingham. Farzana Ali Choudhry, Kiran Hassan and Mariam Siddiqua secured £39,750, enabling them to launch Shahjees, which specialises in a range of Indian dishes, including Chaat – a type of savoury snack.
The three friends used the funding for refurbishments, progressing a kitchen fit-out, while also purchasing furniture, marketing and signage. The company is now in its fifth month of trading.
Dr Sophie Dale-Black, Midlands UK network director at the British Business Bank, said: “The British Business Bank is committed to increasing access to business finance. By hitting this latest milestone and delivering over £41m in the East Midlands, the Start Up Loans programme is providing critical support to a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“The Start Up Loans programme is of real benefit to those with a business dream but struggling to access the finance to realise it. Shahjees is a great example of how entrepreneurs can use the programme to secure investment and launch successful businesses, with the Nottingham restaurant now entering its fifth month of trading.”
Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start Up Loans, said: “Providing £600 million worth of funding to new businesses outside of London is a huge milestone for the government backed Start Up Loans programme and reflects the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small businesses at a grass roots level across the whole country.
“We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses that hail from each corner of the country, particularly in areas of deprivation where people may struggle to access funding, and this milestone is tribute to that.
“We are proud that our loans, mentoring and support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs is helping to support the Build Back Better agenda and we’re delighted to have been able to help Shahjees make their dream into a reality.”