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Start Up Loans urges UK shoppers to support their local entrepreneurs this festive period.

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, is supporting small businesses by encouraging people around the UK to purchase from their local independent retailers this Christmas.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start Up Loans, said: “Christmas is an essential period for retailers around the country and after a turbulent 2020, many will be hoping for big sales in December. For anyone, like me, who hasn’t already done their Christmas shopping, I’d encourage you to look at how you can support the fantastic variety of local businesses in your area that are an essential part of our national economy.”

Since 2012, the Start Up Loans scheme has delivered more than 78,000 loans, providing more than £663m of funding to small businesses around the UK. Of the people who received a loan since 2012, 31,036 (40%) were women, more than 15,000 (20%) were people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) and 20,600 (27%) were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK startup community.

Support beyond a traditional loan package has always been key to the Start Up Loans offering. It offers pre and post-loan mentoring packages to all customers in the early stages of bringing their business ideas to life, including access to Learn With Start Up Loans, its new partnership with the Open University, with courses covering key aspects of running a business. The low-interest loans of between £5,000 and £25,000 are primarily aimed at those business owners who would otherwise struggle to access finance.

Below are just six examples of the many thousands of inspirational companies which have taken out a Start Up Loan in recent years, and offer products that could make the perfect Christmas gift in 2020.

  1. The Northern Cure, Manchester 

Prosciutto Kit – Home Curing Kit – Duck Prosciutto (£18.00)

The Prosciutto Curing Kit gives you all the tools and guidance you need to cure your very own delicious Duck Prosciutto at home.

Order here

About Northern Cure

Alex McKay, alongside his business partner, started Northern Cure earlier this year. Northern Cure is an independent British charcuterie all about high quality meats and ingredients. Their ambition is to work with local restaurants in the Greater Manchester area to supply a range of high quality meat-based products.

  1. Philly & Friends, London

Philly’s Gift Set (£24.49)

Their biggest set includes: Who Do I See in the Mirror? The Beautiful Box of You™ Philly’s Teddy

Order here

About Philly & Friends

Vese Aghoghovbia is the founder of Philly & Friends, a children's lifestyle brand that aims to add the much-needed drop of colour in the sea of children's products. They create beautifully illustrated books, wall art, and affirmation cards designed to instil self-love and confidence in our little ones. Inspired by her daughter whose nickname is Philly, she wanted to create a children’s character that kids everywhere can identify with. At the time, less than 1% of children's books in the UK featured a Black main character.

  1. Pudding Pantry, Nottingham

Christmas Cakes (From £25.00)

A beautiful festive chocolate cake or a fun gingerbread sponge cake with a chocolate drip!

Order here

About The Pudding Pantry

Anthony Quinn launched the Pudding Pantry - a dessert inspired brunch restaurant - in the heart of Nottingham in 2013. When lockdown was imposed on the nation, Anthony had to think outside the box, and launched a takeaway and delivery service as well as an at-home afternoon tea experience and American Pancake kit.

  1. Roundwood Gin, Cambridgeshire

Gin Bottle Candle (£26.00)

Roundwood Bottle Candles with wonderful 'Bergamot & Juniper' scent made from empty London Dry Gin bottles.

Order here

About Roundwood Gin

Emily Robertson launched her distillery in Cambridge to handcraft her own brand of Gin. The global pandemic hasn’t stopped Roundwood Gin - when there was a national shortage of hand sanitiser Emily launched her own range, which she also donated to key services in the local community.

  1. The Divine Hag, Scotland

Christmas Scent Gift Pack (£30.00)

This trio will bring the happy, cosy scent of Christmas throughout the entire winter period.

Order here

About The Divine Hag

Margaret Morrison-Macleod launched The Divine Hag, an aromatherapy company producing products and running workshops. After suffering with migraines triggered by artificial smells in other products, she eventually decided to take the leap and launch her own business - using exclusively natural ingredients.

  1. BTS Concept Store (By The Sea), Northern Ireland

Plum & Ashby Orange & Clove Glass Jar Candle (£26.00)

Orange & Clove scented candle ensures the citrus and warm aroma of the Christmas season fills your home.

Order here

About BTS Concept Store

Tracy McAllister launched BTS Concept Store (By The Sea), an interior and lifestyle store, on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. Six years after opening, at the start of 2020 Tracy re-launched her website which worked in her favour as the pandemic hit. Her e-commerce site has helped the BTS Concept store to continue thriving, despite shop closures throughout the year. 

Bethany Wright
Article by Bethany Wright
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