Government-backed programme has provided more than 58,000 loans to start-ups and early stage businesses since 2012
London, Birmingham and Liverpool have been identified as among the top five most entrepreneurial cities in the UK, according to new data from the Start-up Loans Company (SULCo).
London topped the list, with aspiring business owners in the Capital receiving Start Up Loans worth over £100 million. Birmingham came second (£9.2 million), followed by Liverpool (£4.8 million).
In fourth place came Sheffield, receiving over £4.5million, followed by Manchester, receiving over £4.4million.
A total of 17,339 businesses from across London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester – and over 40,661 across the UK – have received low-interest loans from the Government-backed scheme since it was launched six years ago by David Cameron with James Caan (pictured) acting as its Chairman at that time.
Lyndsey Tidmarsh, a former beauty and nail therapy teacher at Birmingham college, set up West Midlands Nail and Beauty Academy in April 2015, when she was looking for a new challenge.
With the help of a £6,500 low-interest loan, Lyndsey launched her Academy in The Custard Factory in Birmingham and left her job at the college to work full time.
Since receiving the loan, the Academy’s studio has tripled in size, providing students with two training rooms to improve their skills. The business now employs five part-time staff and one apprentice.
The success of Lyndsey’s teaching methods is borne out by the Academy’s track record of finding employment for her students in some of the most successful salons in Birmingham, with some going on to set up their own businesses.
Lyndsey Tidmarsh, founder of West Midlands Nail and Beauty Academy, said: “There have been challenges to starting my own business, such as the long working days, and things being slow to take off. But I’ve never been put off. I live and breathe the business, it’s my baby. I’ve worked hard to ensure the Academy offers the best enrichment for students, and I get them to think about their futures and their employability after the courses.
“I am always on the lookout for the next challenge, and plan to open up two further Academies. I also have plans to release a new product range for nail and beauty therapy.
“I would never have succeeded without the mentoring provided by the Start Up Loans Company, it has become a fundamental part of my business and growth. I am now encouraging and referring my students to Start Up Loans to set up their own salons.”
Eddie Holmes, founder of Launch 22, a charity helping to support young people starting their own businesses, received a low-interest loan of £10,000 in 2014 to set up on his own in London. Since then, he has opened a new premise in Liverpool, which is three times larger than the London office. He is now hoping to expand to Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Belfast.
Since receiving the loan, the business has gone from strength to strength. It now employs nine full-time staff and 30 volunteer members.
Eddie Holmes, 34, founder of Launch 22, said: “My aim is to establish Launch22 as the leading charity which supports the entrepreneur, not the business itself, in helping them develop in the UK.
“It is often difficult for young entrepreneurs to afford premises and find mentorship, particularly in places such as Liverpool. The low-interest loan has helped me to provide these budding business owners with a space to develop.
“I know that starting a business is possibly the hardest thing to do in life, and failure is not usually regarded as an option. However, I’m trying to challenge that notion and change the culture within the UK, encouraging young people to not be afraid of taking that first step.”
A spokesperson for The Start Up Loans Company, said: “It’s great to see that Birmingham and Liverpool are among the top five entrepreneurial cities in the UK, alongside London. This is testament to the number of aspiring business owners we’re seeing who are working hard to set up their own ventures in these areas.
“Start-ups are a critical part of our economy and we’re delighted to see the growth in self-employment across all regions of the UK. Setting up a business can be tough, which is why along with our financial support, we offer all Start Up Loan recipients free mentoring to ensure they are supported along their journey.”