social impact report & annual statement

Ageless ambition: Start Up Loans provide £14m boost to entrepreneurs over 50 in the North East

11% of loans issued in the North East have gone to entrepreneurs over 50, totalling £7.6m.

Start Up Loans for individuals aged 50+

Start Up Loans part of the British Business Bank, today announces that it has delivered more than £140m of loans to UK entrepreneurs aged 50+ since its inception in 2012. The programme has supported 13,422 loans, at an average of £10,427.

Of these loans, more than £7.6m has gone to business owners over the age of 50 in the North East. 699 loans have been issued to businesses, with an average loan amount of £11,013.

Start Up Loans has delivered more than £13m worth of loans nationally to the over 50s in the financial year running 1 April 2023 – 31 March 2024. This represents a significant contribution to national efforts to encourage people aged 50+ back into work through a variety of initiatives designed to help stimulate economic growth.

Nationally, almost half (£64m) has been delivered since the first Covid-19 lockdown, with 4,664 issued since April 2020 with a value of £63,928,454, reflecting an average loan of £13,707 per business. That’s an average increase of more than £2,600 compared to the four-year period before Covid-19, reflecting the difficult operating conditions businesses have been facing.

In the North East, £2.6m has been delivered since the first Covid-19 lockdown, providing a total of 177 loans. In this period, the average loan value per business is £14,947 – an increase of more than £2,378 compared to the four year period before Covid-19.

Durham-based Zig and Zag Handmade is just one example of such a business that has continued to grow since receiving a Start Up Loan

Jane Henderson Forrest, Founder of Zig and Zag Handmade

Durham-based handmade pet collar business, Zig and Zag Handmade is just one of these businesses. Founded by Jane Henderson Forrest after struggling to find a unique animal collars for her rottweilers and horses, the business sells handmade paracord collars to pet owners across the UK.

To fuel further business growth, Jane secured a Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank. The loan helped the business increase its paracord stock, buying more colours in higher quantities. The business currently works in conjunction with Voodoo K9 Academy, where it has a stall but hopes to move this into a shop as the business grows. The loan also allowed it to buy a website, where it can reach a wider customer base.

Commenting on the success of Zig and Zag Handmade, Jane said
: “My business aims to bring unique collars to pet lovers across the UK. Paracord collars are a great way to do this while maintaining a high-quality standard. Receiving a Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank via their partner X-Forces, gave me the additional support I needed to get my business to where it is now. The finance has enabled me to buy larger quantities of paracord and supply my collars to even more pet owners. I am proud of what Zig and Zag Handmade has already achieved and I am excited to grow my business even further.”

Dr Sophie Dale-Black, UK Network Director for the Midlands and North of England, Start Up Loans said
: "As Jane demonstrates, you can further your business ambitions at any age. It’s why we encourage anyone with a good business idea to get in touch and learn more about how the Start Up Loans programme might be able to help turn it into reality. Veterans like Jane can do this through our partner X-Forces."

"It is interesting to note the high proportion of the funding during and after the pandemic, suggesting that many people of 50+ re-evaluated and took action to pursue their business ambitions."

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.

Do you need a Start Up Loan to start or grow your business?

We can help you secure the finance and support you need for your business in the North East. So far, we've helped over 5,000 people start their journeys with £20 million in Start Up Loan cash.

Learn more about a Start Up Loan and how to apply for a Start Up Loan.

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