British Business Bank and Start Up Loans Company merge to improve opportunities for the UK’s microbusiness community

Press release 03 April 2017

The British Business Bank, the UK’s national business development bank, and the Start Up Loans Company, a government-backed scheme supporting microbusinesses with access to finance, will merge from today after both boards ratified the joint decision.

The merger enables both organisations to collaborate as they seek to support microbusinesses and deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment of 75,000 Start-Up Loans by 2020. It brings several advantages to both organisations; including sharing of expertise, clarity for the small business community and the opportunity to combine approaches used for supporting smaller businesses.

The British Business Bank and the Start Up Loans Company have been working closely since 2014. During this period, the Bank has been providing advice to Government on the Start Up Loans programme’s funding, objectives and performance, and overseeing the programme on its behalf.

There will be a transition period until 1 July, during which time operations will be brought together. Both the Bank and Start Up Loans Company (SULCo) will stay in their current offices and retain all existing branding with no changes to frontline services.

The announcement comes just as SULCo’s total lending figure surpasses £300million this week, after co-founders of The Oystermen, Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton, secured the programme’s 46,400th loan to fund the opening of their first oyster restaurant in Covent Garden. The initiative has supported an average of 11,200 loans a year since its inception in 2012.

The Bank has been working closely with the Start Up Loans Company for several years and this merger will bring the two organisations, which already have a shared sense of purpose and complementary skills, closer together. This is a natural next step, an exciting moment for everyone involved, and means we can deliver a better service for smaller businesses. Keith Morgan CEO of British Business Bank
Since launching in 2012, the Start Up Loans Company, with support from the British Business Bank, has lent £300million to microbusinesses across the UK. This merger recognises how successful our partnership with the Bank has been and helps us improve our support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance. Providing more than 46,400 loans to businesses across the UK is a testament to the drive and ambition of people throughout the country. The Oystermen is a great example of a business idea which has been brought to life with a Start Up Loan. They now have a solid business plan in place which will see them grow their footprint across London and bring oysters to more seafood lovers in the capital and beyond. Tim Sawyer CEO of Start Up Loans

Further Information

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK’s national business development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than 54,000 businesses, working with over 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.4 billion of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £5.1 billion of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.

British Business Bank plc is the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank. It is an economic development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA. More information, including a legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries, can be found on the British Business Bank website.

About SULCo

The Start Up Loans Company (SULCo) was formed in June 2012. SULCo provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at 6% fixed rate per annum, and offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business.

Free guides are available on the website.

The primary aim is to ensure that viable start-ups and early stage businesses have access to the finance and support they need in order to thrive. A network of delivery partner organisations support applicants in all regions and industries throughout the UK.

The funding for SULCo is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). SULCo is now a member of the British Business Bank group. The British Business Bank makes finance markets for smaller businesses work better, enabling the sector to prosper, grow and build economic activity. 

In November 2015, the Chancellor committed an additional £166m of funding through to 2020 on top of the £131m already invested up to March 2015.

The Start Up Loans scheme is not designed to generate a commercial profit.

Key statistics1

  • Since 2012, SULCo has delivered over 44,000 loans, providing more than £276m of funding and helping to back 25 businesses a day.
  • In the financial year 2015/2016, the scheme provided 9,141 loans with a total value exceeding £64.1m – helping start around 28 businesses every day of the year
  • 19,000 loans have been provided to individuals formerly unemployed or economically inactive and 46% of loans to young people are helping those who were formerly NEET (not in employment, education or training)
  • Approximately one in five loans go to residents in the UK’s most deprived communities
  • The overall return on investment of the scheme is at least £3 per £1
  • Loan recipients report estimated average turnover of £49,000 in the first year. For more information about Start Up Loans, please visit
  • 1

    All of these statistics are gross estimates, with the exception of the return on investment numbers, and are based upon Start Up Loans CRM and externally commissioned research from two major surveys undertaken by Qa Research