Century Repairs in Nottingham, East Midlands, a van-based phone repair service, is among 12 small businesses to be selected as champions of UK start-ups by Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank.
Start Up Loans Ambassadors for East Midlands, Lamar Griffiths and Reece Walker first met at school when they were 10 years old. Since then, the pair had wanted to create a business that was doing something completely different. They promise to repair your device from your location in their customised van in 30 minutes or less.
The annual Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme, now in its sixth consecutive year, celebrates exceptional business owners who have followed the ambition of becoming their own boss after receiving support from the Government-backed Start Up Loans programme.
Century Repairs is just one of 4,941 East Midlands-based businesses that have received a loan since 2012, representing a total value of over £42m. Through a network of Delivery Partner organisations, the Start Up Loans programme provides pre-and-post loan support to help applicants develop a business plan, a fixed-interest loan of up to £25,000 to start or develop their business, and mentoring and other support to help loan recipients with everything from cash flow to marketing.
Drawn from communities throughout the UK, the 2021 Start Up Loans ambassadors reflect the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small business sector at a grass roots level.
Since 2012, the programme has delivered more than 88,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £790million. Of those who received a loan, 35,156 (40%) were women; more than 17,700 (20%) were people from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority communities (excluding White minorities); and more than 4,500 (35% of 18-24 age group) were previously unemployed.
Paul Scully, Small Business Minister, said: “Start Up Loans are a vital pillar in our efforts to level up every part of the country and offer opportunities to hard-working, dynamic people regardless of their background.
“From canned wine to woodwork, bridalwear to camel milk, this year’s Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the incredible diversity and creativity of entrepreneurship across the UK and will spearhead our mission to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”
Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans, said: “The small business community has been through a disrupted and challenging year, making it all the more important that we celebrate and champion the sector.
“The breadth and diversity of this year’s Start Up Loans ambassadors demonstrates that, with the right support and mentoring, aspiring business owners from all walks of life can thrive in the most challenging circumstances.
“I want to congratulate our 2021 ambassadors on the tenacity and determination they have shown over the past year, which has resulted in hugely impressive achievements. I look forward to working with them and sharing their stories to inspire others in their communities.”