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Independent review shows Start Up Loans programme helping boost UK business start-up rates

An independent review of the Start Up Loans programme has found that the programme is helping boost UK business start-up rates. The review found that over a third (35 per cent) of those surveyed would not have started a business at all without support from the programme.

The Start Up Loans programme, operated by the Start Up Loans Company a subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has been operating since 2012 and has delivered over 50,000 loans, providing more than £350m of funding to start-ups and early-stage businesses across the UK.

Today’s review has produced the following three key findings:

  1. The Start Up Loans programme has a significant and positive effect on the start-rate of beneficiary businesses.
  2. The Start Up Loans programme has had a significant and positive effect on the likelihood that businesses increased their sales from year to year.
  3. The programme represents positive value for money, with economic benefits estimated at around three times higher than economic costs.

The review is an independent, interim assessment of the programme’s impact focused on benefits delivered for target groups and value for money.

This is the second annual update of a long term, independent, research programme, commissioned by the British Business Bank and undertaken by SQW Ltd, BMG Research and Aston Business School.

The overarching purpose of the research programme is to provide an assessment of the economic impact of the programme, whether it is appropriately targeted, and whether economic return from the programme can be enhanced.

The design of the evaluation approach has been reviewed by the BEIS Expert Peer Review Group for Evaluation, which provides an independent assessment of the methodological approach. The evaluation process includes annual interim findings. The first annual review is available here. You can read today’s interim findings in full here.

Matt Adey, Director of Economics at the British Business Bank said: “We welcome today’s interim findings by SQW Ltd. As the UK’s Government-owned economic development bank, we are committed to ensuring our work receives independent scrutiny and are pleased that today’s findings show that the Start Up Loans Programme is helping boost the number of people setting up their own business.”

Joanna Hill, Start Up Loans Company CEO, said: “I am really pleased to see the positive outcomes from the Year 2 evaluation. It is really encouraging to see that Start Up Loans are continuing to provide much needed support and opportunity to new business owners and the real contribution they make to the economy.”

The final evaluation report is expected in 2018/19.