The Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank, aims to encourage entrepreneurship by providing the financial support required for those looking to start or grow their own business.

Through a network of Delivery Partner organisations, the programme provides applicants with help creating a business plan, a fixed-interest loan of up to £25,000 to start or develop their business, and mentoring and other support to assist with everything from cash flow to marketing.

As part of the Spending Review 2021, the Government announced that it will provide funding for 33,000 Start Up Loans over the next three years. Since 2012, the programme has delivered over 88,000 loans, providing more than £790m of funding.

Loan information

  • Borrow up to £25,000;
  • Fixed interest rate of 6% per annum (per year);
  • Repay over a term of 1–5 years;
  • 12 months of free mentoring; and
  • Government-backed.


To be eligible for a Start Up Loan, applicants must be

  • Based in the UK;
  • A start up within its first 24 months of trading – businesses which have been trading for longer than 24 months are not eligible; and
  • Using the loan to fund the initial cost of starting and developing a business.

The loan cannot be used to fund certain activities such as debt payment, training qualification and education programmes. A full list of exclusions can be found here.


The Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme celebrates exceptional business owners who have benefitted from the Start Up Loans programme.

Twelve small businesses have been selected as champions of UK start-ups by Start Up Loans, including Valiant Lingerie in King’s Lynn. Eleanor Howie took secured finance of £6,500 through Start Up Loans delivery partner Virgin Start Ups in Spring 2020. Her business, Valiant Lingerie, provides empowering lingerie for women who have been impacted by breast cancer or risk-reducing mastectomies. Read more about Valiant Lingerie’s success story here.

Valiant Lingerie is one of 6,170 East of England based businesses that have received a loan since 2012, representing a total value of £56m.