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Get the funding and support you need to succeed

Starting a business comes with its challenges, particularly in securing funding. Aspiring and new business owners often grapple with complex loan applications, fear of rejection due to insufficient collateral or credit history, and daunting financial terms. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The government-backed Start Up Loans scheme is a solution designed to help you succeed despite the challenges.

What is a Start Up Loan?

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed, low interest personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a new business in the UK. It's an excellent way to finance your business.

Since its launch in 2012, the scheme has supported 105,000 business ideas with more than £1 billion worth of loans.

What's more, loan is unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application.

Key features

  • Borrow up to £25,000
  • Fixed interest rate of 6% p.a.
  • Repay loan over 1 – 5 years
  • No application or set-up fees
  • 12 months of free mentoring
  • Government-backed
Share ownership of the business? That's no problem as up to four owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business.

Here's how much you would repay if you borrowed £11,000

£11,000 loan repayable over 5 years. 60 monthly payments of £212.66. Fixed interest rate of interest 6% per annum. Total amount of credit £11,000.Total interest payable £1,759.60.Total cost of credit £1,759.60. Total amount payable is £12,759.60.

This is an illustrative example for a loan of £11,000. Loans of up to £25,000 are available from the Start Up Loans Company. Rates and terms will vary for other loan products from BEF should you not be eligible for a Start Up Loan. Further information is available on request.

Am I eligible for a Start Up Loan?

To be eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • You're a current UK resident
  • You’re starting a new business or have been trading for up to 36 months
  • Your business is based in the UK
  • You have the right to work in the UK
  • You pass our credit checks and you can afford to repay the loan
  • Have been denied by a bank (you can self-certify)

I meet all the criteria so how do I apply for a Start Up Loan?

Applying for a Start Up Loan is a straightforward process:

  1. Online Application Submission
  2. Credit Check and Initial Review
  3. Business Plan and Document Assessment
  4. Interview
  5. Decision and Loan Offer
  6. Acceptance and Funding

Usually, our team of Investment Managers will help you finish everything up within six weeks after you apply for a Start Up Loan.

SeaGrown: A Start Up Loans Success Story

We have helped thousands of people build a business. Scarborough-based SeaGrown are a well known client of ours. They set up England’s first commercial seaweed farm thanks to a £25,000 Start Up Loan from us.

“The funding from BEF has enabled us to purchase the equipment which is fundamental for us to start processing the seaweed. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of interest and support from the local community and have also taken on two full time and two part time employees who’ll be working across all aspects of SeaGrown. The support from Julie and the team at BEF has been outstanding; always communicative and the process was incredibly straightforward.
- Wave Crookes, SeaGrown

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Our FAQ section includes answers to common questions. If your question isn't listed, our dedicated team is just a message away.

What can I use a Start Up Loan for?

  • You can generally use the loan for things like day-to-day costs, premises, equipment, stock, marketing, bringing on new team members, or other ways to build your business.

What documents are required for the application?

  • Usually, you'll need to show us your Business Plan, Cash Flow Forecast, Personal Survival Budget, and Personal Bank Statements from the last three months. Don't worry, one of our friendly Investment Managers will let you know if we need anything else from you.

Do I need to give a personal guarantee to receive a Start Up Loan?

  • No, you don't. No security or collateral is required. What's more, you do not have to pay any application or early repayment fees.

Can I apply if I have a poor credit history?

A poor credit history will not necessarily prevent you from securing a Start Up Loan; however, it is certainly a factor that will be considered as part of our assessment process. We are committed to responsible lending and, as part of this, review each applicant’s past financial behaviours and current ability to afford the loan.

Why choose BEF?

You can look at us as a trusted finance partner that will be there for you from the beginning and for the long haul.

We are a not-for-profit lender that helps people access the finance they need to launch and grow their own business. We've worked closely with the British Business Bank to deliver Start Up Loans since the scheme first started in 2012. Over the years, we've supported over 5,000 people to start or grow their businesses and delivered £20 million. We are ready to support you too.

We will provide you with:

  • A personalised approach: We understand that every business is unique, and we tailor our support to meet your specific needs and goals.
  • Expert guidance: Our team of friendly, experienced and supportive Investment Managers will provide you with valuable insights and guidance throughout your journey.
  • Real people making decisions: There are no cold, heartless computers here. All of our lending decisions are made by happy humans.
  • Finance to start and grow: You can access flexible finance to start-up and scale up.
  • Excellent support: We work closely with local business advisory organisations and the British Business Bank to help new businesses in the Yorkshire, the Humber, and the North East.

Ready to start or grow your business?

Apply for a Start Up Loan today and turn your business idea into reality. Our team is ready to support you every step of the way.