Start Up Loans

Personal loans for new businesses to begin trading, for owners unable to borrow from traditional lenders.

What is a Start Up Loan?

Start Up Loans are personal loans designed to help new businesses begin trading. They were created to support would-be business owners who have struggled to secure finance from traditional lenders.

They differ from small-business bank loans in that they are personal loans for business purposes. They are also unsecured, which means you don't have to use your house or any other asset as security to receive the money.

Start Up Loans are provided by the Start Up Loans Company, which is funded by the UK Government. You can borrow between £500 and £25,000, payable over one to five years, at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum.

When you apply, you're paired with a dedicated business adviser, who supports you with completing your application form. If your application is successful, your loan comes with the option of 12 months of free mentoring.

Am I eligible?

To qualify for a Start Up Loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You live in the UK
  • You are starting a new business, or your business is less than three years old
  • Your business is/will be based in the UK
  • You have the right to work in the UK

How long will it take?

This depends on your business and how prepared you are. If you're well prepared, you could receive your loan within a month. If you need more time to complete your application, it could take a lot longer.

How much money can I apply for?

You can apply for a Start Up Loan of between £500 and £25,000.

The loan is personal, rather than a business loan. Consequently, if there are partners in your business, you can each apply for a loan of up to £25,000. The maximum amount a single business can receive is £100,000.

What are the benefits?

  • The loan is unsecured
  • Fixed interest rate of 6% per annum
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Support during the application process
  • Free one-to-one mentoring for 12 months

What are the risks?

Your credit rating

Start Up Loans are personal loans. The Start Up Loans Company will carry out a personal credit check when you apply, which could have an impact on your credit report. Similarly, if you fail to make your repayments (known as 'defaulting'), this could affect your credit report too.

Possible charges

If you default on your loan payments, the finance provider may issue charges. You are personally liable for these charges. This could also result in you being given a county court judgment (CCJ) or your case being referred to an approved debt collection agent.

Are some businesses excluded from getting a Start Up Loan?

Start Up Loans support most types of business. However, certain types of business are not eligible, including those that involve:

  • property investment
  • banking and money transfer services
  • gambling
View the full list of excluded businesses View the full list of excluded businesses

How do I apply?

You submit an initial application online. Then you're assigned a business adviser to help you complete the full application.

The Start Up Loans Company will carry out a personal credit check, for which you'll need to supply some of your business documents for assessment. These include a business plan and cashflow forecast.

If you're approved for a loan, you'll also be offered 12 months of free mentoring.

You can apply via the Start Up Loans Company website.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Making business finance work for you

Our Making business finance work for you guide is designed to help you make an informed choice about accessing the right type of finance for you and your business.

Read the guide to making business finance work for you

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